On Masculinity [15 Minute Insight]

The latest 15 Minute Insight, some quick thoughts of a philosophical understanding of masculinity, understood causally.

The distinctive male physiology is, of course, very important.  But there is a trap in thinking exclusively or primarily about masculinity from the biological perspective; namely, that it often leads to reductionism.  That is, if we look for the cause of the distinction of masculine from feminine solely in terms of genes and hormones, we are missing the bigger picture, and often implicitly accept a reductionistic and materialistic causal framework.  Yes; testosterone is important.  So is the SRY protein.  So is the Y-chromosome.  But no quantity of testosterone makes a male human being “masculine” in the humanly-meaningful sense.  While someone cannot truly be masculine without these biological components—that is, we can describe a woman as being rather “masculine” in the sense that she possesses many incidental traits of masculinity, but she is not and cannot be essentially masculine—while someone cannot be truly masculine without the requisite biology, the requisite biology alone does not make someone masculine.

 

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