Why I Decided To Write This:
Humankind has a bad habit of confusing a step forward with an acceptable end result. “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” the great Confucius once said. Finish properly what you start. Did your words harm a friend? Don’t just apologize see to it that you never make that same folly again. It was your mess, you should seek to make amends. It’s rarely easy but you owe it both to the other person and to yourself.
Toxic Masculinity is a blight on society one many generations have been brought up under and perpetuate onto others. A blight that has left the men it corrupts broken internally and just as equally physically damaged to the ones unfortunate enough to be pulled into its storm. However in the wake of the Sexual Revolution, the #MeToo movement, and the Revival of the Political Left, Toxic Masculinity has not gone without response upon response. Much has been said and written about Toxic Masculinity in this time and it’s unlikely the topic hasn’t reached your ears at this point. Videos on how to be less toxic, articles how Toxic Masculinity isolates both men and women, personal vlogs of men sharing stories of how their run ins with toxic masculinity have impacted their lives and how all of this has been propagated by Neoliberalism Capitalism which erodes at humanity for profit. Indeed it has been a long time coming but the deconstruction of damaging masculine ideals has finally taken root. It’s becoming easier than ever to be proud of the type of man you are. And despite the having a sexist madman in the White House and bimonthly school shootings the future is looking just a tad bit brighter. We’ve taken a great step forward.
Step forward it may be, however, let us not fall victim to the horrendous habits of humanity once again. We took a step out of the darkness, enough to get in sight a sunlit horizon, but we are not at our end result.
I said, “much has been said and written about Toxic Masculinity” but in the same vein too much has been said and not enough done. The trend amongst the political left is to make videos about Incels, the Alt-Right, and Toxic Masculinity to show their issues and deconstruct them so that we may understand how it got to this point. They seemingly have no interest in organizing or unionizing and have effectively just become a community of sycophant B-list YouTube celebrities. If they choose to simply be passive observers and muckrakers that conflate calling out problems with taking the action they advocate for so badly then so be it. Given that I’ve abandoned the political left already I won’t needlessly rain on their melodramatic back patting party.
However, I will take action where I am able. I would be betraying my ideals if I sat and watched you all walk in circles and think yourself wise. My source of contention with the political left and feminist groups is this: They rightly lambast and deconstruct Toxic Masculinity. And yet in all of this they offer no Praxis for how a man should live. They will, at best, say masculinity is not rage and policing of other but strength, compassion and self-confidence. A truth to be sure but they’ve jumped from point A to Z skipping over how to conduct yourself so that you may act out those masculine ideals of strength, compassion and self-confidence.
Deconstruction is easy. It only requires that you know what you’re looking at and lay it’s faults bear for all to see. Reconstruction is hard. You must take what strong pieces remain, wander outside to find more pieces, then construct them all in a practical manner that works for all. Is it the daunting nature of this task that stops the left from attempting masculinity praxis? Is fear stilling their step? My heart wants to say that it is, because if so I could respect the effort. However, I know that Occam’s Razor is a one size fits all blade. They’ve either confused the deconstruction of Toxic Masculinity for the end goal, or they are simply apathetic.
We have smashed the board. But we have yet to setup for another game.
I cannot force you or anyone else to accept my take on this issue. But in my experience the masculine ideals of Shonen Jump have not once failed me or my friends once. I find them as more concrete, more vivid and more all-encompassing with each passing year of my life. Looking at the idolization of Shonen characters even outside of my own sphere it solidifies in my mind how important it is to pass on these ideals and give them reverence so that I can help guide others on a more virtuous path.
Down to my very core I am a misanthrope. But this post comes from a place of pure love and desire to help. I will give you the praxis handed down to me. You need only read and engrave these ideals in your heart.
There are several questions that go along with building praxis. Applicability. Replicability. Practicality. So why, when all I have access to all western philosophy and texts on feminism commenting on masculinity, did I chose a fifty year old Japanese magazine for teenagers as the basis? In a handful of words, the majority of Western Philosophy is vain trash. I’m less versed in feminist theory besides a few books on gender and independent research. In preparation for this post I did listen to an audiobook by Thomas Page McBee, the first Female to Male person to box at Madison Square Garden. I did this less out of a desire to witness a outsider-coming-in view to masculinity and more just to see where the discussion was at.
Amateur: A True Story About What Makes A Man emotional though it may be is, unfortunately though expectedly, slightly trite. I feel cruel saying that about someone’s life story but at the same time I can’t say I came across anything outside my realm of familiarity. At best I walked away from the experience with a handful of good quotes and some Doctor confirmed facts about how testosterone affect the body (which were also not difficult to find by surfing YouTube/Googling for a few minutes). All things granted I got it for free on Audible so nothing was wasted and I’d recommend the book if you’re curious after this post as I will be referencing it a few times.
Still the fact remains I gleaned very little from Thomas Page McBee’s outsider-coming-in perspective on masculinity. As something of an outsider to it myself it did however strike familiar chords.”You raised yourself” is a line I was on the receiving end of when I was fifteen and all things considered I’m much better off for it. My parents were always gone off at work or loudly arguing. While I hopped between babysitters, states and several schools. There divorce was officials when I was about ten or eleven and passed through my memory with less weight than a homework assignment due at a more pressing date. This was because I spent all my childhood playing video games. I had minimal interest in people and even less interest what made them tick or identity. When it came time to enter high school I decided my time to studying the people around me by playing the role of class clown and searching for something to base myself around.
So indeed, my mental developmental course was not based on “becoming a man” but rather a purely functional course. The concepts of gender (not biological sex mind you) and gender roles weren’t on my mind until roughly the age of nineteen. Up until that point I didn’t think about it nor ask as I simply had more interesting things on my mind. That’s not to say I hadn’t ever been on the opposite end of the Toxic Masculinity, that would be statistically improbable. In fact my fascination with cyberpunk and the world of Android Netrunner jump started. Exposing me to the ideas of Transhumanism and eroding the concept of gender as a spook long before I questioned gender itself.
Additionally my interest in the realm of narrative was non-existent until high school as well. I read one book as a child, John Henry, from which I took the lesson that people should all strive to be cool badasses. Then I never read another book or engaged with narrative again until I picked up a copy of King of Bandits: Jing. A Shonen manga about a cool badass. That followed nicely after reading John Henry only ten short years later. When I was fifteen. No I didn’t actually care about video games stories about I just wanted to win and play with the systems.
For all intensive purposes I self raised myself on interactions and Shonen manga. In these regards I consider myself in an ideal position dole out praxis in this field. My interest comes from a place of pure curiosity and not bias, call-out culture, forced responsibility, or shame. So why did I gravitate to Shonen? I won’t cop-out and just say it was destiny.
Shonen Jump has survived for till today for a good reason. It’s core pillars of Friendship, Effort and Victory all work to maintain the identity its cultivated 50 years in the making while also saving it from the trap of what Epicurus called “vain ideals“. It’s Three Pillars are malleable, universal and simple enough to allow Shonen Jump to break and reconstruct its own mold as many times as necessary. With those pieces it ensures that every iteration is better than the last. A Shonen manga has no need to live up to the ideal of “being a Shonen manga” the same way a growing boy should not be feed the line of thought he has to “be a man” at his own detriment. Shonen Jump is comfortable mashing the mold it builds for itself. This longevity to me demonstrates both replicability and applicability on Shonen Jump’s part. The practicality is what is left to me explain and impart.
Mistakes Of The Past:
The terms Masculinity and Toxic Masculinity are both memetic and loaded. Just saying them brings to mind a wave of examples and exemplifications of their list of ideals. However, vague ideals hold no power. So for the sake of proper setup I will be taking the respective ideals from an opinion I trust. In his video take on this issue Dr. Nerdlove details four notable traits of Toxic Masculinity and nine traits for Masculinity.
The components of Toxic Masculinity are composed of:
1. Restriction of all emotions besides Rage or Lust
2. Utilization of “bio-truths” to repress both men and women (or at least coerce them into ways of behaviour)
3. Shaming (policing) of other men to conform to vain “Masculine” ideals
4. Is based around Power and Dominance
The nine traits of Masculinity include:
I have no issues with the Doctor’s diagnosis here as it coincides with what I’ve seen of Toxic Masculinity and Masculinity in real life and Shonen. The first issue with prevalent most in need of tackling is that pesky issues of overused “bio-truths”. A “bio-truth” is a claim that because men are men and women are women act inherently different. Simply put, there are important and noticeable difference between the Male and Female brains but at the time they are not as significant as you may think.
Many people assume if you were to ask Sociologists and Biologists the question of what matters more “Nature or Nurture” it sparks controversial debate. While the human brain is largely a still a mystery to our species both sides agree, the answer is 50/50. Louann Brizendine is a neuropsychiatric professor at the University of California and penned two books, The Female Brain and The Male Brain. In her interview with Brett McKay of the at The Art of Manliness sheds some light on the actual impact of Testosterone on the brain. So what tendencies are men prone to and what claims are lies used to propagate Toxic Masculinity culture?
Perhaps most pressing on the list is the question of “Are men more prone Violence and Dominating people.” To which the answer is sort of yes. However overblown, the stereotype of testosterone inherently leads to aggression maybe it does hold some truth. Men that have been exposed to higher levels of testosterone in utero or artificially inject more have been linked to lower empathy, higher levels of aggression, reduction of moral ambiguity and lower responsiveness to infants crying. Between Amateur, my own research, and two different Art of Manliness interviews with two different doctors these all hold to be true.
What is also true is that men form social hierarchy faster than girls do. In studies done girls did establish hierarchies with their own unique forms of aggression but it was less common and happened at a slower rate. Interestingly if men have a tendency to reform the same hierarchy even the people in the experiment haven’t seen each other in years. So yes, in several different ways men biologically respect power and aggression.
But it’s not enough. No, nowhere close.
However, the red herring here is that the testosterone has to be above a certain threshold for these things to happen. Men with normal levels have proven to be no more or less aggressive than anyone else. In fact the ideal that men should reject emotions is contrary to our biology. Testosterone also makes us more sensitive to inputs. While this does include inputs that could potentially lead to aggression the idea men should reject all their emotions is vain and unfounded. In social and economic tests/games testosterone has also been shown to induce more frequent and generous giving.
So down to even a biological level the 1st, 2nd, and 4th traits are antithetical to men and should be removed. The 3rd (shame) I will save for later as it serves a more nuanced role. However, the reason I wanted to tackle this from a biological perspective first and foremost is important for our grand narrative. As outlined in the Shonen Aesthetic it’s important that we carry a certain level of respect for the ideas of our predecessors. No matter if they happen to be wrong or inefficient. For if we had never encounter those ideas or seen them play out we would never have the opportunity to see their mistakes. Nor would we have the drive to fix them.
Make no mistake, we stand on the shoulders of those that came before. We have to accept that. Accept that Toxic Masculinity is our issue to fix. And accept the responsibility that implies for the future.
Keeping Your Ideals:
Alternatively, “People who carry contradictions and conflicts are weaklings.”
-Tengen, Demon Slayer Yaiba
“I keep my ideals.” isn’t just snappy line the middle of a My Hero Academia opening. Rather it’s an important motto for everyone to follow. Integrity is an important key to masculinity that embracing idealism is important.
When it comes to what you value in life that’s largely something up to your own digression as you travel throughout the years. Personally speaking my two friends have ideals that are entirely separate than my own. My friend the HxH2011DRA bases his ideals around things like consistency, practicality and always seeking the ideal. My friend Calliope bases his ideals on always being an individual and being appropriately level-headed and reasonable. My friend Outlaw bases his ideals on finding peace and making other feel at peace. As for myself the ideals I kept to are loyalty, iconoclasm and supporting friends. The things we all place value in inevitable get us into conflict with each other but we do respect each other for sticking to them.
What’s most important about embracing idealism is that it gives you a central pillar to orient yourself around. “Life is mostly about what you did when you lost.” is a good line I found in the manga Hinomaru Zumou. If all you do is win in life it’s not conducive to building character for times of hardship. When the chips are down and against you what do you do? If you’ve decided to keep your ideals then you have something to return you that gives you peace and stability. Those lacking in ideals are likely to do anything from place the responsibilities on others to needlessly lash out.
Following in the steps of Epicurus and Togashi Yoshihiro’s works I don’t judge other people ideals or desires. When it comes time to find ideals and desires ask yourself not if they are natural or unnatural. If they bring pleasure then, hey so be it. However, as Epicurus pointed out, some pleasures come with the unfortunate side effect of bringing pain. Take murder as an extreme example. Epicurus would not judge that as good or bad but would just accept it (if you know anything about Hunter x Hunter Yoshiro Togashi has a similar opinion). He would however point out that your insistence on killing people is going to enrage your neighbors who will then probably drag you out of bed by the hair to face the legal system (assuming that “legal system” is not just an angry mob with weapons).
In other words don’t actively seek pleasures that are going to disrupt your harmonious life. This (mostly) isn’t a political praxis post so that doesn’t exactly apply in that field, but Epicurus appropriately hated politics as well. So thinking of it like this, the Toxic Masculine ideals of Rage, Lust and repressive stoicism are not bad in and of themselves. If you get joy from not showing emotions, wearing anger on your sleeves or being lecherous then have at it. But consider if the ratio is in correct proportions. Is suppressing your emotions causing them to whip up more strife inside you? Does your constant rage get you into fights or costing you friendships? Are you using sex as a method to prop up your ego to avoid your problems?
If any of these are true it’s time to reevaluate your ideals. Even before considering how the ideals that Toxic Masculinity holds close affect others think of yourself first. Is it worth holding such self-destructive ideals in the name of vanity?
It isn’t the approval of masses that will build you up. That’s something you have to do on your own. If you can say without any shred of doubt that your content with yourself then you’ve won.
Victory On Your Own Terms
“Winning isn’t about defeating your opponent. It’s about being happy with yourself.” Is perhaps my favorite line from Shaman King and the wise Buddhist soul that is Hiroyuki Takei. Winning is important. Without victory then all the effort put into your endeavor is rendered meaningless. And of course, while human beings all have basic things that give us joy, not everyone’s heart made satisfied by the same things. Part of the issue with Toxic Masculinity is that it wants all men to just be satisfied with gaining power, being dominate and having sex. In Amateur, Thomas Page McBee posits that men today lack Archetypes. After being confined to a single ideal to live up to we lack visions of the type of men we could be striving to become. A large part of this comes from the media reinforcing the narrow definition of manhood.
Let’s reverse a few steps to before I gave the answer and ask the broader question? “What is winning?” The literalist would search up the definition of victory and say “an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle game or competition”. If we were to run with that then I’m sure many would be satisfied with leaving it like that. In our ultra capitalist society we are both encouraged and incentivized to view life itself as an ongoing competition or game. If you don’t carve out a fortune for yourself no one else is going to assist you. With minimal safety nets and regulations the material reality is that you either succeed or die uncomfortably below the poverty line. In such a sense the baseline notion winning is workable, even preferred if one doesn’t want to complicate things.
However, in life there are no set benchmarks that you will be held to. Not because there are no charted courses for us to follow, but because there are many. Consider, for a moment this miniature parable; “What is a win in a boxing ring to a sumo wrestler? Or a win in basketball to a volleyball player? Or a win in Chess to a Yu-Gi-Oh player?” Surely if domination/victory itself is the goal then it’s clear. A win is a win. Perhaps the victor in one of these scenarios would enjoy the sensation of squeaking a win in a field they did not understand. The question, is would that be satisfactory? If so, and you just wish to chase the sensation of feeling like a winner, then you must be satisfied doing anything as long as you win right? Again, as Epicurus taught, there’s no need to call that pleasure bad just ask if it is inflicting pain many times greater than what you would receive if it goes unfulfilled.
Frankly, losing sucks. The feeling is awful and that never changes. Winning on the other hand isn’t always work the joy it comes with. This is because the joy in winning is magnified many times more by the effort you put in. The professional Overwatch player puts effort into polishing his teamwork and aim while the EVO competitor puts effort into polishing his combo’s and footsies. The basketball player trained his lower body so that he could make faster drives while the Sumo wrestler trained his lower body to be more solid to push someone out of the ring. The Chessmaster and the Shogi player put effort into memorizing board states each with different possibilities to them. The writer studies narrative while the guitarist studies the chords.
These wins are not the same.
From the Shonen perspective that is rooted deeply in Epicurean tendencies and Buddhist ideals winning for the sake of it is a painfully foolish thing to base your identity around. Epicurus would say “if it gives you peace of mind you won.” Buddha would tell you, “The self isn’t real so if you construct yourself as a winner you are.”
The reason that Toxic Masculinity is so widespread is that it’s the type of mindset that befits Neoliberalism Capitalism like a glove. What’s most damaging about it to the self is that slowly trains your base your sense of the victory and self-worth on someone else being below you. Not to give gratitude the climb it took to get that point, without which you will surely grow bitter over time.
“Your humanity stops being human when it’s based on someone else not being human.”- Thomas Page McBee
In short, don’t do this. This is bad.
Learn & Cultivate Your Power
In my Shonen Trope Talk: Power and Strength Absolute post I covered three different types of Power. Physical, Social and Systemic. That post was me running some setup to halve my load for this. I won’t be delving too much into how those powers function here so I suggest reading that and coming back. I asked several questions in that post and left them open-ended. Now to expand on some more of them here.
The answer may seem obvious to some but when talking about gaining Power some niggling questions must raise their heads at some point. “For what reason am I gaining this power?” “What should I do with these abilities and knowledge?” “Is Power necessary at all?”
Rather than lead you on some round about journey through these inquiries I’ll be direct. If you hope to accomplish anything in life you need to develop some sort of talent. If you’re questioning what your power should be used for, the answer is your friends. And if you have no desire to cultivate power your best option is to perhaps live life as an ascetic monk or in the wilderness. Which… are both pretty pleasant-sounding options honestly speaking. Most importantly, develop your power for the sake of a defined goal.
A piece of advice I wish I had gotten before graduating high school would have been to take at least a year off to find something I actually wanted to pursue instead of allowing my family to strong-arm me into a wasted year of college and debt. Finding that one thing isn’t easy, nor is it usually readily apparent. It has to be something that you could develop passion and would not mind putting long hours into for a person to even consider it. This raises the question if some pursuits are inherently more worthy than others. Instructors that teach self-defense often have people attend classes that make the respond to the question, “Why are you taking the time to study something that, if used incorrectly, can land someone in the hospital?” Competition and Self-Defense are worthy goals in their own right. Whether you want to stand with a Championship Belt in hand or just continue to be standing after someone means you harm are acceptable answers. What is not an acceptable answer is “because I want to” as it shows lack of internal character and integrity. Sure you could want to have a bicep the size of a small infant, but you could also use it in a fit of rage to break someone’s arm.
If your immediate thought was to dismiss that possibility on the grounds that you consider yourself more rational than, that’s worrying. Humans are not all-knowing, we are not driven by rational but by generations of evolutionary instinct in our DNA. A man’s will is harder to maintain than you might think. What’s worse is that the immediate consequences of our actions may not be readily apparent. If your goal is to just “create a billion dollar company” because you want a lavish life that seems like an innocent enough goal. If you were to consider the material conditions of reaching that what does it entail? Under the capitalist system which is not designed to support those at the bottom it means worker exploitation. You can try it instate ethical payment levels and plans but those require more Power in the form of more capital. Which is antithetical your goal of making money and not losing it. You can choose to do this regardless but what about the other people who lead the organization with you? Do they share your morally upright code in addition to the goal of making money? What about the government? If they institute a law that would harm your profits or tax you more the only solution is to lobby and contribute to the corrupted justice system. And even if you manage to do all this ethically and by the books (well the books are corrupt but it’s the thought that counts)… what happens after your gone? Will the person that takes over share your ethics?
Through that elongated example I wanted you to realize several things. When you’re seeking power to change your life you are not alone. The future is never certain. And that having vague and vain goals could lead to disaster and deluding yourself. The reason that your power should only be used for friends is simple, friends don’t let friends waver. The most important thing a friend does is when you “Ask, am I deluding myself? Was I wrong? Should I correct myself?” a true friend answers, “Yes, obviously you idiot.” It’s about accountability.
Striving Vs Surviving: Against The Wall Of Reality
Let’s assume that this point you’ve done/are doing everything you should be and are making progress towards down your path. I doubt that anyone is going to expect life to just sprawl out before them at this point. Run headlong down the path. Fast as you wish and don’t be afraid to step back for a moment to observe if you can find a more creative way down it. But no matter what you do, you will come up against a walls. Walls called reality.
However, the type of walls that you will encounter must be dealt with in different ways. Cognitive reality can change as your perspective does. This is why, if you don’t rigidly stick to your ideals, it can waver. What will not waver is material reality. If you play a sport and you have a small build, you play at a disadvantage. Getting discouraged about that isn’t going to change a thing. Your emotions won’t magically cause you to grow several inches to give you a chance to compete. What you can do however is find a new method to cope and make up what you lack. This is the premise that sports Shonen are built on. The dichotomy between those that get gifted with more talent, or a more fitting body and those that don’t. And taken to a much broader extreme this is the basis of the two paths that Medaka Box codified and went on to shape Shonen Jump from 2008 and onwards. The path of the Striver, the Plus. Against the path of the Survivor, the Minus. Now I would like to explore what these very loaded and esoteric terms mean for Shonen Jump. Not just for this post but for future endeavors.
Plus: The Path of the Striver
“There are two specters haunting Shonen Jump. One is what Ashin’in brought up about how it’s all about Power. And the other is the moralizing issue.”– HunterxHunter2011DRA in our Medaka Box Podcast Series
It’s hardly something that needs to be said, but in life the goal is to thrive and not just survive. I couldn’t begin to think of someone who would glorify the path of just getting by except those that walk it daily (the Minus). Given that I’ve been an advocate of getting the Shonen community to read Medaka Box for going on eight years and eventually got my friends to read it… we’ve talk about this dynamic many times. Many. Many. Many times. Despite us understanding it on a instinctual level it was difficult to summarize what has effectively become a Shonen Jump exclusive literary dynamic. So now I want to attempt to distill this down to easily digestible levels. The Plus and Minus dynamic arises when a difference in Power causes a schism in cultural values. It ultimately comes down to a pattern of choices: When your back is to the wall what do you choose? Faith or Heterodoxy?
In his video on Story and Religion “The Art of Story” posits that Faith and Religion have been misdiagnosed. From what I can tell he has more or less retracted his redefinition of Religion but his redefining of faith is solid. “Faith is simply loyalty to a belief.” Faith works as an antibody that would threaten our beliefs, the things we hold closest to us as they most accurately reflect reality and ensure survival. (This is, of course a gross oversimplification of a half hour documentary. Please follow the link to the video. Highly recommended and one of my favorites.)
That antibody comparison is incredibly important to keep in mind for this dynamic. As well as why I chose to frame this as a matter of Faith vs Heterodoxy. Shonen Jump places it faith in Friendship, Effort, and Victory. That is to say, “If you work hard (Effort) and always trust your friends (Friendship), you will always achieve your goal (Victory).” Shonen Jump subsequently, will almost always frame antagonists as different in one of these areas and have their character grappling in one of these aspects. Avoiding putting in Effort of your own is shown as shameful and god help you if you insult someone else’s Effort. Do you scoff at the idea of Friendship or think everything is better done by yourself? You likely won’t make it far. Do you see Victory as the only thing that matters? You’re more than likely headed down the path of the elitist. These are the things that, Shonen Aesthetics aside, make Shonen Jump what it is.
More generally speaking if you want to make head way down your path, you need to stick to it. Keep your ideals as you travel down the path and don’t waver in them. Even if it’s something as minuscule as promising to get in shape. Diet and exercise right? Simple but it only shows results if you do it repeatedly and day after day. And the results you achieve is what will full your faith even further.
Minus: The Path of Survival
But it is at this point we must remind ourselves of Shonen Jump’s two specters that lurk over shoulder. For as beautiful the waters of Faith in your ideals is, material reality lurks around the corner to muddy the water. As Ashin’in said, Shonen Jump is in fact about Power. It’s easy to say a your resolving to put the work in to learn a sport. But it if your living situation only affords you freeze-dried ramen and no money to hit the gym your likely not going to hit the goals you want. Making friends and forming long-lasting friendships is hard enough as is, but you can effectively double that difficulty if you have anxiety or something of a similar ilk. Even if you wanted to dunk a basketball the most likely way your going to do it is being blessed with a tall frame.
This is reality. If you don’t have Physical, Social, Systemic or any other type of Power you’re going to suffer for it regardless whether or not it’s fair. It is possible to come up with a creative work around to whatever wall you face. Imagination and creativity are what have allowed human beings to come to this point. If traditional methods won’t work for you because of your circumstances then just find a back door solution by keeping an open mind. However, this is where the tension between the Plus and the Minus takes form. For in achieving the goal a different way, this is a direct challenge to the Faith in the method that someone else had. What the Minus saw as adaptation, the Plus can see as heterodoxy. In Medaka Box this was the source of contention between Medaka and Kumagawa. With Medaka framed as privileged with Power and Kumagawa as someone who came to criticize the elites for there patronizing compassion that the would understand their struggle. It’s why Kumagawa’s perversion of the Shonen Jump motto has stuck with readers long after the series end.
Ultimately, both Plus and Minus have things to learn from each other. The Plus learn to value accepting that not all people can or will accept the same things as them. While the Minus admire the Plus for the ability to stick to something ridgely and learn to appreciate the worth in having ideals. Both lessons men should take to heart in an age where people have been economically disadvantaged by a morally bankrupt system. Perhaps even more important to this lesson is to remember that these are not things to just stew in. These lessons are meant to guide actions. Because to say one thing and do the other is hypocrisy.
At this point in the post there is little left for me to impart. As said before Shonen Jump’s relative flexibility makes for diverse stories. As such Jump author’s have a wide array of things they wish to teach their readers about life. So beyond my final point against Toxic Masculinity that I’ve delayed until now all I can say is just to read more Shonen manga.
The Role of Shame:
The culmination of Toxic Masculinities actions manifests itself in the form of Masculinity Policing. The act of using shame to get other men to conform to their own ideas, which in turn reinforces the shamers masculinity by asserting his dominance. I suppose the most expected answer to shaming others just be to stop. If the shaming stops then Toxic Masculinity loses its ability to propagate. Well I find such cut and dry solutions to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The shaming should be cut back drastically I agree. More importantly it should be relegated to the archetype that someone is looking to adhere to. Shame is a powerful tool for accountability. The most important thing you can do to stick to your ideals is to recognize you are not an island. There will always be external social pressure and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. What is needed is to surround yourself with friends that are just as invested in your growth as you are.
If you have fallen off the path you’ve set up for yourself and haven’t done anything to change it or set yourself up in a better position, shouldn’t you someone administer some shame? What matter is who it comes from and how well they understand your situation. Your less likely to listen to someone if they just happen to be some random person. Likewise how qualified is a random person to understand what you need? Are they sympathetic to your circumstances and have a relative vision of what you want?
A friend both does and (if your close) would be glad to knock you down a peg. Keeping each other honest and on the right track is the highest obligation friends have to each other. If you have close friends that aren’t going anywhere consider how long you should keep them in your inner circle of friends. Bad habits diffuse into you with time.
Don’t let them. Be open to the bitter pill of criticism and the sense of shame that comes with it. Don’t allow egoism to root your feet to the earth.
At almost 7000 words this is the longest work of non-fiction I’ve written (and not deleted anyway). Unfortunately any sense of victory is tainted in nature. Tainted by the knowledge that this far summit talent and ability that I seek. And by my disappointment in all people, not just the ones I happen to share chromosomes with to not have tackled it before I stepped in. As we come to the end of 2018 it takes all my senses that fathom the fact that our species, in the face of ecological and social calamity, still circles the drain of a soon to be outmoded concept call “gender”. A concept which, our modern understanding and usage of comes from a man named John Money. A psychologist/Sexologist whose experiments drove someone to schizophrenia and then suicide.
I’ve criticized the LGBT movement for this before but what they consistently fail to instill that your gender, sex, and orientation are not your identity. Why base your identity on something so impertinent and subject to change? I fail to understand. Only know that if you base your identity on something so flimsy be prepared for another existential crisis when the wave of transhumanism takes root.
While I did speak using words like “men” and titled this post a praxis for masculinity… in all honestly I was just humoring the idea. There’s nothing in the post is mutually exclusive to a man or woman. The path of Shonen spreads wide for those that adopt it. In fact I don’t consider myself a man or woman. The idea of gender or even what I am never crosses my mind at any point. I simply exist.
If you found this post helpful then hey, glad to be of some service. I sincerely wish you the best of luck. With any luck the path of Shonen will bring us in contact again on another, less formal, occasion. As for me this endeavor wasn’t even enough to be considered a notch on the belt. I knew that going in. The entire desire for this was birthed from wanting to never have to engage the topic again. For now that I’ve added my stance to the pool I never have to listen to Twitter ranting or melodramatic lefttube videos about masculine ever again.
I’m not one to get discouraged by an end result like this. I know that the type of victory I seek lies beyond, further up the summit and past the horizon. And I encourage you all to use this post as a springboard to shuffle you along to your own summit!
Thanks for reading.
Seeking sweet relief from noise that assaulted his ears.
He finds an hallow ringing of victory bells to be of little comfort.
What a bitter pill.