Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Club #282 - Masculinity -Toxic and Otherwise


“I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.” - Margaret Mead

Hello all.  Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly meeting of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships.

I hope you had a great week.  It sure didn’t take long for me to break all those resolutions around health and reducing my consumption of politics, social media, etc.  The changes I referenced at work continue to play out and have provided an unusually high number of temptations to over-indulge, though I have to own that the opportunities are just that – opportunities.  The result in sinking back into 2018 behavioral patterns only when I rise to the occasion and take the opportunities when given.  But, there still are several days in this opening month of 2019 for me to get my personal behavior under better control.

I had also hoped to de-emphasize my consumption of political content this year, if for no other reason that it just becomes too much.  And, kind of a pointless too much.  You look at the current government funding debate.  I spend hours reading about something that I don’t have the slightest ability to influence, let alone control.  Is that really a good use of time?  It did, however, at least yield one interesting spanking reference in the popular press, which I would encourage you to take a look at.  It isn’t often that you see an adult spanking reference in the headline of a piece in a major newspaper:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/dowd-nancy-pelosi-donald-trump.html.

Another media-driven distraction this week from a very unexpected source – Gillette’s television ad targeting “toxic masculinity.”  From an advertising perspective, it seems like an incredibly dumb move.  Lecturing and scolding your customers doesn’t seem like a really wise move if your goal is to make new sales, particularly when the people who are mostly likely to give you kudos for your approach likely already buy your product (men who support the Me/Too movement) or don’t have any need for your product (women who support the Me/Too movement).  Alienating substantial portions of your entrenched customer base without doing much to appeal to a group you don’t already sell to just seems like a pretty stupid marketing move.  Interestingly, the commenters are all over the map.  One I found the most interesting was actually from the right, characterizing the ad as conveying an essentially conservative message. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/gillette-ad-conservative-message-on-masculinity/. 

I don’t quite buy that, but I will say that what I do personally find more than a little annoying about the advertisement is it characterizes a lot of behavior that is just flat-out bad as inherently male.  I don’t buy that. Take the references to bullying.  Is bullying really an inherently male phenomenon?  Take a few minutes and google stories about teenage cyberbullying resulting in suicide.  In many, many of the cases both the victim and perpetrators were girls.  In fact, while girls are twice as likely to be the victim of cyberbullying, they also are twice as likely to be the perpetrator.  https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2336109/Marketing/Infographics/CyberbullyingAwarenessInfographic_Oct16.pdf.  Think only men do bad or unethical things at work?  One of the biggest corporate scandals of recent memory was the fraud perpetrated by the female founder of Theranos. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/health/theranos-elizabeth-holmes-fraud.html.  Think only men are overly competitive in sports and other activities?  Anyone remember Tonya Harding arranging for the kneecapping of Nancy Kerrigan?   It’s true that men die earlier than women, often because of bad behavior, but the gap has closed as more and more women adopt those behaviors, including smoking and binge drinking.  Part of the gap also is accounted for by men working more dangerous jobs with far higher mortality rates.

What does all this have to do with Domestic Discipline?  A lot.  Men who have a yearning to be disciplined may gravitate to this lifestyle specifically because they want help reining in their own bad behavior.  Paradoxically, they may be afraid to ask their wives to help with that, specifically because they fear that admitting their desire will make them seem less masculine.  And, they may be right in some cases.  While I’m always surprised at how many otherwise vanilla women do seem open to DD when asked to do it and may quickly become downright enthusiastic about it, I also know women who stress that they “want a husband, not a little boy.”  Conversely, something that changed my views on gender issues in DD was getting to know some women who are on the other side of the paddle.  While some are natural submissives who are very into traditional gender roles, some are also more or less exactly like me: success oriented, driven people who stress themselves out precisely because they are so intense and driven and . . . well . . . Alpha or Type-A in their orientation. 

What role do views on masculinity play in your DD relationship?  Does being on the receiving end make you feel less masculine?  For the wives, does being the “Top” in a DD relationship make you see your husband as any less (or perhaps more) masculine?  Is polishing off some of his “toxic masculinity” a goal? 



26 comments:

  1. I do not feel less masculine while over Devs knee. I’m totally comfortable thinking I can handle any situation that would arise. I also feel totally at ease across her lap. Trust is a must and we have that. JR

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  2. First off, yes, I agree you can be disciplined and still be masculine. Heck, I'm a lot tougher than those vanilla husbands!

    For me, I'm very leery of 'political' femdom. I think male domestic submission can be a wonderful gift for a couple to share, but I'm not interested in doing it to right some deep historic wrong.

    You mentioned last week hoping that DD and FLR don't get better known and I tend to agree mainly because I fear it would become politicized. What my wife and I do is something of an escape from the pressures of the world, rather than a statement about anything outside the two of us,
    CrimsonKing

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    1. Is political femdom "a thing"? I haven't heard that term before.

      I hadn't thought about acceptance leading to politicization, but I guess it could. I don't really think of it as political, whether F/m or M/f. But, I guess there is one way in which it could be -- as a society we put so much emphasis on egalitarianism and equality. What if the lifestyle being advocated for is inherently unequal? To some extent, even "pure" DD without the Femdom elements involves some element of inequality; she gets to punish me for bad behavior but not vice versa. And, as you go further down the spectrum from DD to to D/s or FLR, or appointing one person "Head of Household," things become less and less equal and the dynamic becomes about one party taking on decisively more decision making authority.

      Of course, doesn't this debate about "toxic masculinity," suggest things aren't that equal right now anyway, in terms of societal acceptance of male dominance versus female dominance?

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  3. Regarding political femdom - just google the word 'Gynarchy'. Sure, it's fantasy - maybe even mostly male fantasy - but enough politicians say things like 'The Future is Female' that... Well, stranger things have happened.
    CK

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  4. I do think that Frank appears less manly when I am punishing him. He looks and sounds like a naughty little boy. And I do not want him to look and act that way the rest of the week. I want him to be the traditional husband that I know and love.

    Frank does not have that toxic masculinity that you are talking about. He is a gentleman and a very good man. He just tends to be forgetful and sometimes self-centered, like most men I know. And the paddle does a good job of helping him to refocus on our marriage and on me!
    Elizabeth

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    1. Hi Elizabeth. See my comments to Alan's, below.

      I like to think I am a gentleman and a good man, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the more "Alpha" elements don't seen some taming and sanding.

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  5. I am probably fairly categorized as an alpha male, particularly to the traits of competitiveness, drive to accomplishment, aggression (sometimes misplaced) and involvement in a lot of traditional male activities. I am having my own internal debate about the new issue du jour of male toxicity and so I will defer comment on any of that for now (beyond saying that some of the criticism of male behavior is overdone , but over doing it has become an American habit). To the question about DD and feeling masculine: being disciplined in a committed relationship by a woman to whom I have ceded authority doesn’t in the slightest make me feel less masculine although I suppose paradoxically corporal punishment can reduce me to a very childlike state and feelings of obedience and submissiveness do often last long after a spanking. But I need to add we don’t consider our relationship to be FLR. It is serious DD but otherwise a mostly equal partnership which we both want. My wife is comfortable with me “regressing” as a result of discipline and expects it but doesn’t expect me to stop being either male or her husband. This even extends to her ordering panties or using other techniques to reinforce spankings which are not attempts to feminize me but make me aware of what I did and reflect on it. Some have written about accepting spankings make them feel even more masculine. This is not my experience but it may be for others as the tradition historically of men marking manhood by accepting pain is well documented. But I doubt if many of our contributors feel that being spanked increases or diminishes their masculinity. I will read with interest other comments
    Alan

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    1. Hi Alan. Your comment and Elizabeth's both touch on what I think may be an important distinction. DD may result in emotions linked to a different AGE (boy vs. man) but not a different GENDER (masculine vs. feminine). I do think that some of the gut-level attraction I have to DD does involve some deep-seated need for "maternal" authority, which may inherently involve being reduced from man to boy on some level. But, it's still being taken to a male role, just a different one. Now, I had a post on here some years ago about my exploration of Tantra and its focus on integrating and balancing our male and female essences. I don't have any problem with exploring that and, if DD helps bring out that feminine energy in some way, it's probably a good thing in terms of personal development.

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    2. To me, the difference between masculine and manly is the difference between gender and age. Frank is just as masculine (gender) when being spanked like a little boy, but he is not acting as manly (age).

      Most of the time I want him to be both. I would never have him wear panties or do anything to feminize him. And only on Friday nights do I treat him like a child ... which helps him act manly the rest of the week!

      I did not consciously realize until this discussion that masculine and manly are not synonyms!

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  6. Between Elizabeth and Alan's comments there is no way I could find any better words to explain my feelings about what exists between Peter and I. Thanks to both Elizabeth and Alan for stating it all so clearly. Also
    thanks to you Dan for your patience and for creating this space.
    Anna

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  7. I have spoken with my wife about this subject and here are our thoughts. If applied properly, a spanking brings out what we would call a man's "real masculinity" (working hard to provide for his family, leading his family, protecting his family, being a responsible husband and father etc). Many of the things referred to as being "toxic masculinity" are actually "pseudo-masculinity" (philandering, alcoholism, domestic violence etc).

    When my wife decides what to spank for, how hard and how many times, it is all done with the intention of bringing out "real masculinity" in me and steering me away from temptations to be "pseudo-masculine".

    I note what Alan said about marking manhood by accepting pain. There is definitely an element of that as well. Rather than being like a child and rebelling against accountability, my wife feels I bring out the "real masculinity" in me by grabbing accountability "with both hands" and not avoiding it. I know a men whose marriage fell apart because he was generally petulant. His wife suggested spanking as a means to get things to a good situation, but in his petulance, he declined. On the other hand, all things considered, my wife feels that me accepting pain as being essential to get things to a good situation is an expression of my masculinity.

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    1. "Pseundo-masculinity" . . . I like that. Far less pejorative than labeling a broad swath of masculine behavior as "toxic," and it accounts for those women who engage in their own bad behavior by imitating what they think are the values of the "masculine" workplace. In both cases, it isn't the masculinity that's toxic; it's the pseudo-masculinity. It reminds me of this article discussing how Alpha wolves "really" behave: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-really-be-alpha-like-the-wolf/

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  8. Dan, I loved your reference to Tantra and the intent toward balancing and integrating of masculine and feminine energies. Personally, I feel exceptionally balanced in that way.

    Your mention of the Tantric intention in that regard gave me yet another aspect for gratitude toward Aunt Kay. I was her main "project" and I am sure that's why I experience that balance.

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    1. I can't claim to be an expert on Tantra, and it's surprisingly hard to even find good resources on it that are about the actual philosophy/religious practices, and not just sex advice for Westerners. But, what little I can find is pretty fascinating, particularly its positive attitude toward desire (in all its manifestations, not just sexual desire) and using it, versus rejecting or shaming it.

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  9. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/understanding-tantric-philosophy

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  10. >>>>>What role do views on masculinity play in your DD relationship? <<<<<

    None. Any 'views on masculinity' are as subjective as anything anyone might have an opinion on and therefore utterly undeserving of serious consideration when deciding how to live.

    >>>>> Does being on the receiving end make you feel less masculine? <<<<<

    Perhaps only in the limited context of living among a lot of people who think John Wayne was the epitome of 'masculinity' and that HE always did the spanking and not Maureen O'Hara. But since, like I said in my opening answer, none of that means much to us, I suppose the blunt answer is: not really.

    For the wives, does being the “Top” in a DD relationship make you see your husband as any less (or perhaps more) masculine?

    Rosa says 'no'.

    >>>>> Is polishing off some of his “toxic masculinity” a goal? <<<<<<

    My bad behaviors are just that....mine. They are not the result of what happens to be dangling between my legs. (just as you pointed out quite effectively in your post.) So this is not only 'not a goal' but not the way either of us look at DD.

    Even though our DD is flavored with some Femdom 'spice', we also don't see "Femdom" as anything rooted in some inherent gender superiority. We tend to see D/s as personal choices of identity and role where either gender can fit either role....or even switch between them.

    In a current environment where "male" and "female" identity has become fluid, "masculine" versus "feminine" connotations to activities or items seem even more antiquated. As a funny illustration of this let's look at "pouch panties". On the surface most would say they are a feminine article even though they are made for men. And why? because they have lace on them? They also have a 'pouch' sewn into them which makes them pretty obviously accommodating to a male. Why does the trim define these articles of underwear more than their structure? Because it's a societal connotation not an objective definition. Remove lace from a Western mentality and is it still inherently 'feminine'? Perhaps if you handed a piece of lace to a tribal chieftain in the Amazon, he might adorn himself with it and consider it manly and befitting his rank?

    There were a lot of references from people here about the otherwise 'masculine' things that define them. But what are those really but societal conventions as well? Best to ignore them all. What good would it be if Rosa worried that "hmmmm, even though getting spanked doesn't make KDP seem feminine to me, when he gardens and then makes a fresh flower arrangement for the table I start to wonder. Good thing he tends to go out fishing afterwards or I'd have to question his masculinity." Rather than try to offset what doesn't fit what society thinks is masculine with what does, and hope the net result is in our favor, why not just chuck the whole outdated set of expectations and live on our own terms? Everything is a spectrum anyway, and even that spectrum is fluid.

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    1. Wearing pouch panties is one thing, but gardening and flower arranging are definitely over the line. ;-)

      Seriously, I think that bridge has been crossed. There is a guy in my gym who regularly wears thong underwear that are, as you say, basically a pouch panty without the lace.

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  11. This is Elizabeth. Here is a future topic I would be interested in:

    What specific behaviors have you been spanked for where it worked and you changed the behavior?

    What specific behaviors have you been spanked for where you have yet to change the behavior?

    And what is your explanation for why spanking has worked for some and not others?

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  12. Hi Dan,
    Sorry I have been so silent of late! It has been a crazy time (though what time isn't)? So, I will post a few separate messages (one for the past few weeks topics), one for this weeks topic, and a boot camp update.

    For the previous weeks, you have already heard many times in the past my input especially for the reporting and monitoring. The only time we have really done formal reporting was when she was asking me about my day each evening and assigning a grade, which was addressed during weekly check-ins. As far as random misbehavior, if something ever bothers her enough for her to address it, then she does, but otherwise it is all good.

    Last weeks topic was interesting to me. As I was thinking about “ebb and flow,” there are two things that came to mind. First off, by far the biggest ebb and flow is related to actual discipline. All the time, my need and want for DD is very present in my mind. But as soon as an actual punishment is announced, I don't want it to happen, and as it gets closer, my desire turns to dread. If it didn't happen, then my dread would turn to short-lived relief, only to soon be replaced by disappointment. If it does happen, I feel very at peace with myself and the world, and soon it is all I can think about again!

    The second ebb and flow has to do with the kinkier things. While my interest/fascination with DD has always been pretty intense for most of my life, with no real lulls, what DOES change a lot, depending on life, stress, etc. is just how kinky my thoughts are. As I was reading your spirited discussion with KD a few weeks ago about the relationship between DD, FLR, femdom, and so on, I was thinking “it probably depends on the person.” As I was thinking about ebbs and flows, I realized that it also may depend on the time. During times that my thoughts are more on the kinky side (ie femdom), DD is probably somewhat of a subset of that and is even somewhat reduced to kinky play. However, during the times that I am not thinking about femdom as much, then DD is much more “real” and “pure.” Either way, I think about DD, but somehow it seems to be in different ways.

    -ZM

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    1. "All the time, my need and want for DD is very present in my mind. But as soon as an actual punishment is announced, I don't want it to happen, and as it gets closer, my desire turns to dread. If it didn't happen, then my dread would turn to short-lived relief, only to soon be replaced by disappointment."

      I can TOTALLY relate to this.

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  13. Now on to this weeks topic. I really liked what Elizabeth said about masculinity not being the same as manliness and also I very much agreed with the discussion about what is often described as “toxic masculinity” is really “pseudo masculinity.” When I am being punished, I feel like a naughty very little boy and there is a very strong maternal feeling around it, and my wife even works to encourage that. So, DD certainly doesn't make me feel manly, but it doesn't change who I am day in and day out, and in general I am masculine enough, both in being big and strong and all that, but also in defending those who are more defenseless, protecting, doing the right thing even when it is hard, and looking out for others as well.

    I asked my wife about this, and she said that for her this doesn't change how she looks at me at all because in the end, I am who I am. Even if as part of a punishment she makes me stand in the corner wearing a bra and a diaper, or even use the diaper, that is all just to reinforce the punishment and make it more impactful, because there is only so much damage she can do to my bottom. She isn't trying to change my masculinity, but rather is just trying to clearly communicate and get her point across, and if doing so means knocking down my ego a bit in the process then so be it.

    -ZM

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  14. Boot Camp Update: Our more intense 2-day boot camp didn't end up happening exactly as planned, but instead it has turned into a two week long (so far because it will continue this way for a while) boot camp that is not as intensive, but still with high expectations. My wife just announced that I have two big separate punishments coming up for two things that I didn't accomplish this week. I have mixed feelings about this, because I really was trying to maintain the best balance possible this week and some work things came up taking more of my time, so getting these things done would have resulted in other things remaining undone.

    However, she has said that even though it might seem a little unfair, and even though she recognizes that the week was busier than planned, it would have still been possible to complete the tasks. She said that she thinks it is better to aim for consistency and since she not completing the tasks will result in punishment, then she wants to ensure it happens that way. I really love her newfound resolve; this is exactly the firmness I have been wanting/needing all my life.

    Also, as I look back on the week, I realize that if I had done everything that I could have earlier in the week, I would have likely completed everything, but instead I tried to pace the tasks, not taking into account that life might get in the way. I think there is an important lesson that she is trying to teach me about procrastinating, which is probably the root of most all of my problems. So even though I don't want punishment, and probably still have a feeling that it is a bit unfair since I DID work hard this week, there is a part of me that hopes that she will really unleash on me and teach me a lesson that will be with me for a very long time, even if I hate it at the time.

    - ZM

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    1. Your second paragraph is just great. Unbelievably great. It's like you suddenly have a totally strict life coach. Please tell her -- well done!

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