In this day and age confronting the subject of human characteristics may be seen by some as controversial, inflammatory, or offensive. Words are easily misinterpreted, quoted out of context, or purposefully misrepresented. I wish the reader to keep the following paragraphs in mind while perusing The Life of Men.
This book is not an attack on women or on the women’s movement. Nor is it a denial of The War on Women. Women have—and this has varied greatly by time and culture—long been subjugated to the strength and will of men. Social, cultural and biological roles and influences come into play when interpreting history. Seeing events or trends from a single angle produces biased conclusions. Personally, I celebrate the rights women have gained over the past century.
The war today might be better described as a war on people. It includes a denial of chemical and physical realities of humanity, and a supplanting or manipulation of reality with skewed or conjured images for the gain of those with special-interests. Within this war there is a battle raging—an assault on boys and men, on masculinity, on male virtues and male values. Both misogyny and misandry are to be condemned. They are enemies of humanity.
On characteristics, degrees and numbers: When we talk about human characteristics we are describing general attributes which should be seen as degrees of on continuum scales. That is, when we talk about men being providers and protectors, we do not mean that all men manifest these characteristics equally, nor do we mean that women cannot or do not also provide and protect. These characteristics are a matter of degree within the primacy of our genetic make-up.
Providing and protecting, emphasis on strength, self-sufficiency or valor: these generally have a different priority within the brains of men versus women, but as with all human characteristics there is a significant overlap between the sexes. Some women are physically stronger than some men. Some are faster. Some are taller. Imagine overlapping bell curves with means, averages and standard deviations—with the tails of some characteristics barely touching, yet with the means axis of other characteristics being nearly identical.
The foci of our general statements are populations not individuals. We will not be concerned with political correctness, but we will attempt to clarify statements which might be misconstrued.
On sexuality and the sexual orientation of men: Thinking of men’s sexuality as either heterosexual or homosexual is as inaccurate as thinking of humanity as being split into five distinct races—black, brown, red, yellow or white. Human characteristics, controlled by multiple genes manifesting in complex patterns, present along spectrums of possibilities as continuums not as points or absolutes.
The amount of testosterone a man produces is a characteristic which falls along a continuum from little to overflowing. If the extreme points of male sexuality are the heavily-bearded Neanderthal to the most effeminate guy in town, there are men genetically occupying every point between. Testosterone and other hormones—which vary in strength between individuals, and vary over each individual’s lifespan—affect the degree of manifestation of male characteristics. By statistical definition the bulk of men fall within a single standard deviation from the norm. Being further from the norm does not mean a man is not a man. Culture and social expectations, or political correctness, may push individuals to declare or to choose alternate expressions of sexuality, either more moderate or more excessive than that to which they are chemically fated. There are those who oppress others due to specific characteristics they dislike in those ‘others.’ This is not something I condone. However, the gender-binary in and of itself is no more oppressive than the lumen-binary of day and night.