Sappho at Noli Irritare Leones, in th emood for a challenge, attempts to reconcile the views of nearly all the bloggers who have been discussing “real manhood” in a single blog post. Very cool.
I think Sappho (aka Lynn) pegs my view pretty well – I see a need for strong gender distinctions as an essentially childish perspective. It’s very important to three-year-olds that strong gender boundaries be maintained (I read a study showing that young children will refuse to play with a plain white hanky if they’re told that it’s a toy liked by the opposite sex), but as people get older it matters less. How three-year-olds view gender is not a useful model for how adults should view gender.
On the other hand, I do see that – as a practical teaching tool for folks raised in our gender-obsessed culture – acknowleging gender is sometimes useful and necessary. On the other hand, for other folks (including me when I was a teen), acknowleging that there is no single “real” manhood would be a lot more meaningful.
Hugo also posts again on the subject, responding to “Alas” reader Charles (who is also, along with Sarah, my housemate/partner/house co-owner/blah blah blah). At least to me, it seems that Hugo has moderated his views quite a lot – for which he is to be complimented.