David Roberts+ Your Authors @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Oct. 03, 2018 3 min read + Your Authors

1. All right, nothing is more pointless than a post-midnight tweet thread, but I'm wired & and I can't sleep, so what the hell. Let's talk about "real men."

2. I've known a few guys in my life that I would characterize as Real Men, in the sense that they fully embody what I think is best about masculinity. I've had occasion to both learn from and envy such guys. They are quite rare.

3. They haven't all been physically strong or traditionally handsome. They haven't all been heterosexual. They haven't all been involved in stereotypically "manly" professions. What they have in common, if I had to put words on it, is a deep sense of confidence & self-possession.

4. That self-possession gives them strength. But real strength does not manifest as domination. Real strength makes other people feel safe, not threatened, cared for, not vulnerable. Strength comes from a self that is integrated & secure, without need for ego bolstering.

5. Because their view is not clouded & distorted by ego needs, they can see others clearly, as full human beings. Without gaping holes of need to fill, they can listen & take a genuine interest in others. The Real Men I have known tend to be gentle & are invariably *kind*.

6. This is the connection that has grown clearer & clearer to me as I've gotten older: true strength manifests as kindness. People who seek to dominate others do so because they are needy & weak. They must frighten or harm others to maintain their fragile, fragmented egos.

7. Those guys out there getting in bar fights? The ones reassuring us they totally love beer? The guys mocking, diminishing, harassing, & assaulting women? Those are not Real Men. They are frightened boys, desperate for affirmation, trapped in adolescence.

8. Trump is, in this as so many things, a garishly paradigmatic example. He is nothing but need, nothing but weakness, nothing but a void never filled -- and consequently, he is all bluster & domination & peacocking shows of hollow macho "strength." Two sides of the same coin.

9. And of course, that is what fairly radiates from Trump rallies: Fear. Insecurity. Weakness. All of it sublimated into a frenetic need to dominate, to externalize the gnawing sense of inadequacy by imposing cruelty on others. It is pathetic, in both the original&current senses.

10. Anyway, I admire Real Men, as I admire Real Women. I admire Real People -- whole, integrated selves who, with egos quieted, can turn to face outward & engage with others as equals. Generous, not needy; confident, not defensive; curious, not self-absorbed.

11. I'm not there myself - my ego's pretty f'ing loud - but I hope I'm teaching my sons something better than the hot mess of fragile white masculinity on display in public life right now. I have a pretty good feeling about them & their generation.

12. Anyway, I'm sure my mentions will fill up with all sorts of "soyboy" & related insults, but I know there are lots of people reading this who get it, and I really think it's time for people who get it to get on with it & not worry what reactionary fuckwits have to say.

13. Ultimately, we'll never be Real Men & Real Women until we are free of patriarchy, free from relationships of systemic dominance & cruelty, free to interact as equals, open to & engaged with one another's full humanity. That's what's real, not [waves hands] all this bullshit.

14. Oh, </fin>

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