I believe there is a basic "Male Human Nature" and a corresponding (complementary) "Female Human Nature." This does not mean to dismiss or demean those people who chose to alter their initial biological sexual "assignment." Nor does it mean than men and women can't change roles, assume career and child rearing responsibilities successfully.
These human natures were shaped as part of the "evolution" of man over the course of a hundred and fifty thousand years. Because we are large brained (and that huge brain has to grow dramatically after birth.... our progeny are born helpless and remain so for a considerable length of time while the size of the cranium grows to a size that would never be able to pass through the birth Canal. It takes a lot of time and energy to feed and protect our children. More than is possible by just a woman. Thus men and women have become partners with an "division of labor" that has been refined over tens of thousands of years.
So you ask the question, "What, IF ANY is THE characteristic that defines us as men? I assume there is implied here "relative to women..." You do quickly acknowledge that there are many characteristics. A broad range of "physical ones" - musclature, penis, hormones, size. More interesting to me are the behavioral and deeper the internal psychology. Just as evolution has shaped our bodies, so it has with how we "are" in the world.. how we perceive ourselves, how we satisfy our needs... what those inner needs are. Now I realize that this kind of recognition is highly upsetting to Feminists... that its terribly "politically incorrect."
I do not agree with your men's group consensus... " there are groupings of tendencies that define the genders and they are broadening to decrease the sharpness of the dichotomy of men and women." I believe we are hard-wired as male and female - that these characteristics define men and women. There are sharp differences and those differences are distinct and serve a purpose - survival of the individual and that individual's offspring. There are role changes that are individual adaptive responses. Woman provides, man nurtures and raises children - but these are relatively rare.
Genetically speaking, there is no reason why the gene for Male inner perception and outer relationship with the world has to, 100% of the time be linked with the male sex organs. It is possible for the Female inner perception and outer relationship to be in a male body. And just how powerful this gene is is amply demonstrated by those individuals who have their sexual organs changed... (A thought that makes many men break out in a sweat and cross their legs at the mere mention of the idea.
I would say that there are thousands of male characteristics that we all share (those of us have the male inner perception and outer relationship with the world.. gene.
On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:26 AM, Michael
Michael has left a new comment on your post "Men's Network Male Involvement in Church":
I'm Michael Rogers here on the Central coast of California.
Last night I led a men's group in an attempt to find an answer to a question that to me seems to be not only relevant but critical to we men: What if any is the characteristic that defines us as men?
The immediate response is "I have a penis" There are many that will however disagree in that while they have one live and appear as a woman. There is a continuum ranging from the trans gender individuals that have their physical bodies changed to that of a woman's at least in appearance and those that either from a doctors modifying it at birth or the 1 in 100 with sexually related variances to those that choose to wear some piece of attire usually associated with woman.
There is a lot of variance throughout the population that makes a simple distinction difficult.
There are other continua: differences in women's and men's brains, size, and approach to the world.
The end result we seemed to arrive at is that is there are groupings of tendencies that define the genders and they are broadening to decrease the sharpness of the dichotomy of men and women.
It seems to me that research needs to be done to further focus on determining the variables and determining where we are on these as men so as to be able to optimize our innate abilities as men.
Posted by Michael to Men's Groups - Care, Feeding (and Starting) at September 28, 2010 11:26 AM