Friday 15th February 2019 23:44pm
All socio-political concerns (such as feminism, body-positivity, new-masculinity) prescribe a journey, between where we perceive ourselves to be and where we believe we should end up. Agreeing where we want to get to isn't that tough - it always seems to be one of 2 definite places: a left-wing / liberal place or else a right-wing / conservative place; depending on whether one favours a communal or an individualistic utopia. That distinction is sharp and we try to use the power of 'democracy' to guide us. But even when we find some accord regarding the destination we fall into extreme discord regarding the 'right' route from one to the other. One finds greater, and more intense, squabbles between people who fundamentally agree on the desired outcomes than between those who do not. It's as though it is a greater sin to be the wrong kind of socialist, or feminist or vegetarian than it is to be a burger munching, misanthropic slave trader.
This happens because, having agreed a common destination, we forget (or are ignorant to the fact) that there is no common origination. The nature of the world is such that we all of us occupy different spaces, in different times with different histories and experiences - this after all is what it means to be 'an individual'. Because we are all starting from a different place, we can never agree on the best route to take.
The only way out of this trap is to look for some damn fine picnic spots along the way - to stop worrying about 'the best way forward' and instead to look for the next best place to take a break; however difficult it might be for some of us to get there, and however difficult we might worry the next leg may be. Because each battle won depletes the forces arraigned against us, and what today appears an impassable pass will tomorrow become a walk in the park.
I think we are slaying that "are you beach ready" campaign, and I think that is easing the "penis size matters" debate (body shaming is body shaming whatever the body we slate). I think the (albeit slow) dissipation of penis size anxieties enables the whole masculinity debate, in a way we never had before. Each step taken makes the next more possible.
Men's worries about their relevance in a post-feminist world have held us back from reaching that world for far too long. As we move from all of our different, individual, perspectives to common understanding on each matter in turn we build up experience and gain new perspectives that allow us to see more clearly how to take our next steps. This is not new. It is the way of The Tao Te Ching (chapter 64) after all... There remain dangers ahead, for us all, fears that serve only to block our progress - yet we need but take each rightful step.