I came to talk about “men” – I put the word in quotes because after all it evokes much more than simply physical anatomy, and even that aspect is far from being either man or woman. At least I’m qualified to talk on this topic, given that I am a man, and have been for some time!
I chose to start with a male version of a Simone de Beauvour quote,
one is not born a man, one becomes one
and that’s where we started – how do men learn to become men? I shared some early stories of my gender conditioning experience, like at the age of two year having my rows of curls cut off by the barber, on the behest of my mother, because people were commenting on “what a lovely little girl” I was. It was a violent experience – I put up a fight and my mother’s hand was cut by the barbers scissors! Later, aged 4 or so, I danced ‘ballet’, Billy Elliot like, dressed only in a vest, when visitors called – I can’t remember how or when that had to be discarded.
Others in our discussion group – men and women – shared stories of masculinity and femininity; some of us seeing the polarisation of these stereotypes being the source of much human grief.
I wanted to say, but forgot, that maybe men and women aren’t from Mars and Venus, they’re simply sent there!
Looking forward to our discussion on “women”!