I suffered from severe depression for five years. In that time, I had few romantic relationships. I wanted to get back in “the game” so I began looking for self-help material on how to attract women. I stumbled upon the pickup community.
I studied pickup for a few years. I see two common views on masculinity in the culture.
View 1: Bad Boy
The Bad Boy view of masculinity focuses on being a copy of James Dean. It is the archetype of a dark, unpredictable, somewhat rude, but not off-putting individual. Coaches that profess this style of masculinity encourages students to use a strategy called negging. Negging or being negative will utilize pointing out a woman’s flaws to make her feel insecure. Her insecurity will need to her craving your approval. The other method is the “takeaway.” The “takeaway” is reduction or elimination of communication unexpectedly. The “take-away” will make the girl feel like she is losing you and work harder to keep you.
These strategies play off a woman’s parental abandonment issues. It is a manipulation and will lead to attracting insecure women. The relationship will suffer from both members insecurities. People that follow this advice will have drama filled relationships.
View 2: Enlightened Warrior
The Enlightened Warrior is a much healthier concept of masculinity, but it can create a shadow. The Enlightened Warrior stays on his path no matter what. He is unphased by what a woman or anyone else says. He keeps his focus on his intended goals, which is not getting women. His goal is spreading his will to the world. Conquering new lands.
The Enlightened Warrior mindset could cause a person to repress their emotions and have tunnel vision. A person will begin to act in a mechanical way and ignore others around him. He will simply be a machine entirely focused on a goal, but unable to adjust to feedback from the people around him. His hyperfocus will block him from obtaining his goal.
The bottom line is when you think there is an ideal of masculinity that is outside of who you are naturally, low-self esteem will begin to set in. In either of the above views cause the suppression of the authentic self. When a person is suppressing their authentic self, they develop shadows, emotional pathologies, that cause them to act out. The acting out can not be understood because the reason for the acting out is suppressed.
The healthiest view for self-development is understanding of one’s psyche at the deepest levels. Meditation and shadow work develops this type of knowledge. The deeper a person understands himself, the more adeptly behavior can be controlled. The behavioral control will not result in emotional suppression. Their shadows will form, and the progress will take less effort. Meditation and Shadow Work results in long-lasting improvements in working with people.
Intense self-understanding will lead to acting from your true core. If you are not calling a woman back, it is because you don’t want to talk to her. If you are ignoring what she said, it is because you evaluated the feedback and determined the criticism was unfounded. Acting from your core will allow people of both genders to see who you are. The transparency may not lead to having tons of women, but it will help you find people that want health relationships.
The Marlboro Man is a great analogy for this philosophy. Back in the early 1900’s people thought men that smoked cigarettes were not strong enough to handle the strength of a full cigar. That is why the English called cigarettes “fags.” Men that smoked cigarettes were thought to be effeminate or homosexual. Marlboro, an American cigarette company, decided to change that thinking. They created the advertisement campaign based around the Marlboro Man. The Marlboro Man was the ultimate symbol of American masculinity. He was strong, worked alone, had command of his farm. But most importantly, he smoked cigarettes.
The Marlboro Man proved that you could be strong and enjoy cigarettes. The only problem is cigarettes are not feminine or a sign of homosexuality. Just as being a cowboy or a good farmer is not a sign of masculinity. The Marlboro Man is merely an archetype used to hide something that is not even inherently unmasculine. Using the Bad Boy or the Enlightened Warrior to hide personality traits they feel women do not value is the same thing.
If you feel there is an ideal type of masculinity not only will you always be striving to attain it to no avail, a person will also feel the need to defend the archetype? The defense of the archetype will be a waste of time and energy. Many men in pickup or men’s development will talk about how the media attacks masculinity. Ultimately, any image in the media of a man that is weak, effeminate, or unintelligent is a personal attack. As stated earlier, time and energy are wasted of defending a concept that is incomplete and of no benefit to the individual.
The most recent example of the unneeded defense of masculinity is the disapproval of coverboy, James Charles. Charles signed a modeling contract with Covergirl in October of 2016. Since his appearance on television, many masculinity sites use the advertisements as an example of the war on men. The another example is the Young Thug album cover to “No, My name is Jeffery.” Young Thug wears a dress on this cover. Many black men, especially black men that identify as Hoteps, saw this as an attack on the masculinity of black men.
These examples of effeminate men are no threat to anyone. They are isolated incidents that will not change the life of any men other than the ones in the photos or advertisement. Attacking them will only make men that have a different expression of masculinity feel isolated. Once a person focuses on expressing themselves authentically, all externals become trivial, and others can be accepted no matter how they dress.
Modifying one’s self to fit an archetype causes more problems than it solves. A person must believe that who they are naturally is sufficient to attract people. The energy from self-acceptance will radiate to other people. Self-acceptance is the basis for a healthy relationship.