What Is a Man (And Why Does It Matter?)

Keith Martin-SmithBuddha In Therapy, Cognitive, Gender, Interpersonal, Perspectives, Psychosexual, Self-Identity, Sex & Gender, Video 11 Comments

What is a man? Vulnerable? Gentle? Powerful? Big biceps? Tall? Strong? Innovative? Loyal? Logical?

On the Left, more and more say a man is whatever you want it to be — penis or vagina, boobs or pecs, loaded with testosterone or almost none of it, masculine or feminine — it makes no difference. A man, or a woman, is a form of self-identity, freed from any biological constraints. If you say you’re a man, it’s my job to accept it and society’s job to validate it.

On the Right, more and more say that a man, or a woman, are constrained by their biology if not outright defined by it, and all of this talk of “identity” runs the range from irritating to an existential threat on traditional gender roles. Conservatives say that a man and woman are defined by their biology first and foremost, and that there is no burying or obfuscating that truth.

Who should we believe?

Let’s go deeper:

Be sure to check out the followup discussion with Corey deVos and Keith Martin-Smith, titled Sex, Gender, Identity: Beyond Wokism and Trumpism, where Keith and Corey carefully track sex, gender, and identity as fundamental aspects of the self that can exist in a state of fusion, differentiation, dissociation, or integration, depending on the developmental stage(s) the question is being asked from.

Keith has also posted a longer written piece about these topics, which you can find here.

Text by Keith Martin-Smith
Images and maps by Corey deVos


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About Keith Martin-Smith

Keith Martin-Smith is an award-winning author, writing coach, and Zen priest. He is passionate about human connection, creativity, and evolution. His books include "The Mysterious Divination of Tea Leaves", "A Heart Blown Open", and "The Heart of Zen". His most recent book is his first novel, "Only Everything", a novel that explores the promise and the pain of following an artist's path.