On why the modern obsession with health makes me feel sick.

Being a lifelong consumer of butter and never marg I felt certain shameful smugness at the news that it is actually one of the healthier fats.

Fat-free, sugar-free both of them turn out to be worse. . Do you want your sweetness from a plant or from a brain tumour causing chemical? The water industry started a myth of 2 L of water a day. Newsflash! Your kidneys do not flush out toxins your arse and your skin do that with the help of the lungs and liver. Your body utilises up to 2ltrs of water a day but much of it is in the food that we eat. And no tea does not dehydrate you, otherwise I’d be a crisp. 
Raw food or cold food as it should be called does the rounds but nobody does it and really thrives! Raw food advocates point to animals and say look at them following natures way! Yes I say look at them spending 8 to 10 hours A day chewing food. Raw food requires more effort to digest placing strain on the digestive system. Cooking food starts the breakdown process before putting it into the second cooking pot, your stomach. We are animals yes but we are human animals and in us burns a fire. Cold damp logs do not feed efficient fires. 
Cultures in decline obssess about food and sex and our obssession with health is, in part an obsession with food and it’s the good part that bothers me. Food fulfils two basic functions first and foremost, fuelling and building the body. There is no truer saying than ‘You are what you eat!’ you really are. Your skin, your nails and hair, your internal organs, all made out of food. So good food is important. Less chemicals more food.  Food also performs higher functions by communicating culture and love and concern. Breaking bread together is probably healthier than gluten-free and saying Grace together before breaking it healthiest still. The health obsession is a body obsession, as if the body is all that exists. But what about the heart and the mind? Food is about nourishing them too. 
Which brings me to vegetarianism and veganism and love, the missing ingredient on every packet I’ve ever read. Love, the extension of care and compassion to anything outside of or inside of ourselves, knows no bounds. The vegetarian traditions of the world are often spiritual traditions. Concerned less with the material world of the body but rather the immaterial world of the heart and the mind. The spiritual mind extends love which is immaterial to its furthest reaches to include as much as life as possible. 
Is it possible to eat meat and still extend love and care to the animals that we eat? I believe it is but today’s modern meet industry is about as far from loving and caring as it is possible to be without us all deciding to be deliberately cruel. As soon as we become conscious of the pain and suffering of an other the non-psychopathic part of me kicks in and I intuitively seek to help.
Personally I stopped eating pork the day I found out the pigs at the conscious capacity of a three-year-old child. But my body seems to need meat. Extending love and care I choose less meat and cheese and eggs and when I do I choose the most loved and cared for that I can. And most importantly for me I say thank you for it and extend love and care to it. 
‘Blessings on the food’. Four words that changed my diet and my life. I haven’t stopped eating anything but I love it more. Healthiness is wholeness.  Body, Heart and Mind. 
Thank you. 
Amaninaskirt

Evolution in the gender debate. 

Evolution is a slow process but unlike revolution, evolution always comes up with the right answer. The evolution of everything is so slow as to be almost imperceptible but it’s there and it is as far as I can see relentless. 
Human evolution may have been slow at first, 50,000 years getting to grips with fire then 20,000 fashioning stone tools. 10,000 getting to grips with agriculture and 10 getting to grips with the internet. The development of technology is speeding up and we are no longer waiting decades or millennia for the next big breakthrough. In fact new technologies are making old technologies obsolete long before the old technologies have been fully embraced or understood. In the region of evolution that is the human mind things are however, still a little slow. People make there minds up (quite literally) and that is how a fixed non evolving position is formed. Why is this? Why is it that in some areas of life we think that some points are fixed and not evolving. Why do so many of us fail to see the evolutionary process that’s happening in the world around us?  

Mainly I’m talking of the Modern/Postmodern fight that’s taking place on my, if not your, news feed. It’s happening all over but on campus (and you tube) in the form of gender politics is for me the most crucial. Why? Because gender strikes at the heart of what it is to be human and what it is to be human is also, subject to evolution. 

Hunter gatherer societies where women are the main providers of food (gathering being a more fruitful activity than hunting, I guess) we find that the deities and figures of worship are female. With the invention (evolution) of the plough there’s a change. A woman cannot operate a plough without seriously endangering her ability to bear children so men took over as the main providers of food. So the deities become male too. Now the economic base is changing again. The technologies of today mean that niether women nor men have the upper hand in being the major providers of food and security. Our society (I mean westernised industrialised society) is on a different and new evolutionary edge that calls for new and evolutionary approaches to how we organise ourselves. 

The old order of men (xy chromosomes) equals masculine (singular, driven, outward looking, aggressive) and women (xx chromosomes) equals feminine (multitudinous, feeling, inward looking, caring) is no longer so relavant. The evolutionary advantages of this model for men and women were many and necessary for our survival as a species but evolution moves on. 

Now something different is required. To survive we must adapt and right or wrong we have created a world of such abundance and security that women no longer need a man around to provide so the idea of man has evolved to include more and more of the supportive emotional (feminine) side of life. As has the idea of woman evolved to include more of the agentic, driven, masculine side of life. Some will say that men and women naturally occupy certain positions and that testosterone and oestrogen govern our traits and tendencies. In the nature/nurture debate I always come down squarely in the middle. We are a product of both our genetics AND! our environment. 

Evolution always moves forward, never back. Women aren’t going to give up the rights they have gained and go back to the kitchen. Postmodernism isn’t going to go away either, nor is it the final answer . We aren’t going to go back to a modern viewpoint. Modernism is as much a steppingstone to postmodernism as postmodernism is a stepping stone to what’s next. 

I believe the next step needs to be a conscious one. And it needs to be forward. 

Men need to embrace the feminine, not fight it, and for me right now this involves wearing skirts. For other men it might involve joining a men’s group and sharing there emotional life, or looking after the children, or any one of a million other ways that bring balance to our lives. How you achieve balance is up to you. Who you achieve it with is up to you. What you wear while achieving it, is up to you although looking in the shops and on the high street the seeming fashion ‘lockdown’ looks to be holding strong. 

Best of luck with your continued and continuous evolution. 

A man in a skirt. 

The gay-straight divide, what it is, how it happened and how to get over it.

The relation between the three abstract terms of the philosophical triad, thesis, antithesis, synthesis is also also known as the dialectic method. The dialectic method is a discourse between two or more people holding different viewpoints about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned argument. First, a beginning proposition is called a thesis. Second there is a negation of that thesis called the antithesis. Third there is a blend or fusion of the first and second propositions, the thesis and antithesis. It is called the synthesis.
Please imagine a large canvas with vertical stripes of black, white and all the colours of the rainbow. Now imagine it blurring and mixing. You can still see the colours and the black and white but you’re just not sure where the boundaries between any two colours lies. 

This picture describes for me the current western situation regarding gender and sexuality. We can see the different colours but we’ve lost sight of the boundaries between them. 

Some people suggest that we need to restore the old picture, or at least draw in some lines so we know where red starts and yellow stops. Some people suggest we mash the whole thing together and blend all the colours, the canvas and even the frame leaving nothing but a uniform grey goo. 

 Just how far do we go to allow and support ‘difference’? I mean ultimately we’re all different, and paradoxically we’re all the same. 

The thesis for many centuries was that men are masculine. That psychology and biology are equal and the same and that heterosexuality is the only healthy way to live. The antithesis for the past 50 years has allowed men to be more feminine has allowed homosexuality and has separated biology and psychology. 

Not all in one go though. Cultural evolution is a slow and often painful process but it’s evident (if you look) and like all evolution it just gets more and more complex. It’s the synthesis of that evolution that I want to look at today. 

Trans means to cross. Think of the Trans Siberian Railway that spans the great divide between Russia and China. There are many places along this route. Farms, towns, hovels, palaces and cities. Places with large numbers of people and places with nothing but a dung beetle rolling a ball of poo up a hill. 

Think of Russia as straight and avowedly heterosexual. Think Vladimir Putin, bare chested with a gun! Everyone is getting on fine in Russia. they all know that they are Russian and they know all the rules and convention of Russian life. Then someone discovers China with its different traditions and conventions. China has strange ways indeed, incomprehensible to some. However those Russians that do visit China find it to be a pleasant enough place and although many Russians might not want to live in China the journey there has changed them. They go back to Russia with tales and souvenirs. Russian children grow up hearing about China and perhaps want to see it for themselves or even live there. Perhaps on the journey they stop half way or any where on route. Perhaps they stop at the dusty little market stall selling out of date coke in the middle of nowhere. Maybe they settle there. Others make the journey too. Chinese people visit Russia and make friends and in the interchange between the great countries the route between them slowly become populated. Only brave souls at first. Those who really need something other than China or Russia but slowly the dessert becomes populated and fertile. 

You might be a staunch Russian believing in the sanctity of mother Russia, and that is cool if it works for you but you’ll never get everyone to move back and there wouldn’t be room there now anyway. Not for all the difference that has evolved on the trans-express. The only answer is travel. You’ll still be Russian. Strictly and strongly Russian if you like. But make friends with all the people who are not Russian and you’ll have more friends. Or stay in Russia. The choice is yours. 

Blessings. 

A man in a skirt. (Just outside of Russia in a small but growing town)

Im a man in a skirt and I’m not even gay!

Today on the radio I was offering my opinion on a boy in a dress and the presenter asked me a question. He asked me this question after I revealed my penchant for wearing skirts and tights and dresses. His question, and btw he was very careful to say I didn’t have to answer it, because I think he knew the true nature of his question. His question was, in my opinion, illustrative of a large part of the problem with today’s gender debate. His question was a very personal one and again in my opinion, one that brings little to the debate on boys and men in skirts and dresses. His question was this, ‘Are you gay?’ His question reveals something to me. It’s subtle and i hope I can capture that subtlety in the next few lines. Our culture thinks that if a boy wants to wear a dress he must be transgendered or gay, there must be something ‘wrong’ with him because boys don’t wear dresses. Flawed logic because boys do wear dresses. I did 40 years ago and they still are today. It’s hetero-normative. That is It Sets heterosexuality as the ´norm’ and puts other behaviours as abnormal hence the continual need to put cross dressers in the box marked gay. There’s a, thankfully shrinking, consensus, in our world that men, ‘real’ straight men, solid hard working, womanising men (traditional views on men) are the normal healthy expressions of manhood and to deviate from that is unhealthy. You like wearing skirts are you gay? It’s the equivalent of asking a women if she’s a lesbian because she’s wearing trousers! Ridiculous eh? Imagine it for a moment. Next time you see a woman in trousers ask her if she’s a lesbian and see what response you get. Not long ago women were thought of as lesbian for wearing masculine clothes but guess what society got used to it, got over it and moved on. It’s time to do the same for men. 

I like skirts. I like tights. I like silky, sexy, beautiful clothes in sensual colours to touch my body. I like women. I like men too but not in the same way. I’m not transgendered or body dismorphic or confused (anymore) I am a man in a skirt.

Should a boy be allowed to wear a skirt to school?

In the news today a school is being sued by the parents of two boys, the reason, because the school allowed another boy to wear a dress.

I cannot comment on the uniform policy of the school but if it allows for girls to wear dresses then why not boys? It’s a primary school so I doubt that there’s a strict “uniform” policy. The word uniform means one form or one way and in some ways I’m sure that a school uniform is a help full part of growing up. It levels the playing field and stops some children arriving in the latest and most expensive fashions while other. less well off children make do with hand-me-downs and cheaper clothes. But its not a uniform policy if it expects boys and girls to wear different clothes, is it? A school in Lewes thinks it has answered this question by forcing all students male or female to wear trousers! We’ll see how far that goes before being challenged by the pupils.or parents. Some girls hate trousers, they can be uncomfortable and exposing especially for the larger body form. In the past we’ve wanted our adults to be uniform, conformist and standard but the problem is that we humans are not uniform or standard, many are conformist but many are not and in trying to fit square pegs into round holes we do a disservice to small boys and girls who want to explore there difference.

Girls who do not conform to the gender expectations are called ‘Tom-Boys”. That’s actually quite a nice way of putting it, on the other hand boys who express femininity are called sissys, and there sexuality is brought into question. That to me smacks of hypocrisy and reveals the double standards of our culture.

My heart goes out to all who are struggling with identity in this current climate of confusion. A young boys desire to wear a dress does not make him transgendered or gay or anything other than a boy in a dress.

My aim is to bring some focus to the issues and not get all tangled up in the drama. Please like and subscribe to follow and join the conversation.

A man in a skirt

On ants, the hive mind and humanity.

I watched some ants yesterday, they were pulling a piece of pasta across the rug on the floor of my camp here in France. Where ever you sit on this green earth there are ants going about their business. There are some one hundred, thousand, million, billion, trillion or so, working away, terraforming the earth, long before we humans had invented the term. Or even discovered fire.

Ants are eusocial insects. Eusociality is described as the highest level of organisation of animal sociology. It is defined by the following characteristics :- collective brood care, overlapping generations within a colony of adults and a division of labour between reproductive and non-reproductive groups. No gender confusion there. Humans are not eusocial animals. Yet!? On one level though we are still subject to the hive mind.
The ants I watched didn’t seem to have an identifiable strategy for getting the pasta across the rug. It looked like chaos but every now and then the whole seething mass would seem to take a microscopic movement in the direction of the nest. I watched as a small piece broke off, several ants were attached to it as it moved away from the masses, some fell away whilst others wrestled with it. One and had a definite grip on it even with the others on top. Soon though, all of the others have given up trying and had returned to the big problem. Leaving our heroic ant to get on with the business of bringing the small moresl back to the nest.
The hive mind is like the survival drive. The hive mind is the deepest level of communication. The ant is not thinking ‘Oh I’ve heard of this food source, fancy getting some?’ The ant does it job. It is an ant and it is driven to be its self, in all its ant like ways.

Humans have the same drive. To be our selves, in all of our idiosyncratic possibly neurotic human ways. Self-actualisation is the highest of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once all the other needs for food, shelter, safety, intimate relationships and friendships have been met, the last two are for self-esteem and self actualisation.

To put it another way our highest need is to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ Yet in the Modern world to even ask this can seem like folly. A Modern answer to the question of ‘Who am I?’ is, an accidental arrangement of atoms and cells that accidentally became self-aware and capable of creative thought! It was an answer that failed to ease my curiosity even if at that level of thought, scientific rationalism, it’s true.

Body, Mind, and Heart, three different states of being. In the Body state we are clearly separate but in the Heart state the distinction between us becomes less clear. We all know our physical bodies will die, the Heart is the part (that one suspects we all share) that wonders and asks ‘What next?’

Modern thought, again with the scientific rationalism, thinks it has answered the question. Nothing! After you die, nothing, that’s what! Nada! Niet! Zero! Zilch! Lights off! Goodnight! Saionara! Rien! If that a good enough answer for you to go into the world and live a meaningful and beauty full life then great! I’ll look forward to meeting you on the road. I, however, think a more honest answer and it’s my answer is ‘I don’t know what’s next!’ Saying ‘I don’t know affirms the unknown. Modernism is arrogant like that it thinks it knows everything, or at least that everything is knowable.  Postmodernism is somewhat worse but more about that later.

The hive mind is there for us humans. It exists in our culture in our songs and poems. the films and art that we make. We all pull like ants at the piece of pasta that is our collective evolution. Dragging it across the rug of whatever. We may never know the final resting place, but like the ant you just have to be yourself.

Blessings, if you’re into that kind of thing. X

A letter to America.

America, land of the free, home of the brave. Are you a patriarchal axis of oppression or a matrix of freedom? You’ve caused a global shit storm with your military interventions but you were the birthplace of the new age. You’ve trampled on the democratic process of numerous nation states, but you’ve also taken us to the moon. You gave us Big business and abundance! And you’ve lead the way to the brink of an environmental crisis. To hell on earth with your wars on communism, drugs and terror. War is terror America and you can’t have a war on war. 40% of the worlds military spending alongside some of the best and most inventive arts and cultural and technological phenomena. Yes America you are a land of contradiction.

Who are you America? Land of the what? Home of the who? The French funded your revolution but you failed to kill the beast. If indeed the beast can be killed, and the fairytales would suggest not. Held at bay by St George him self, but not killed. You didn’t kill the beast, or even hold it at lance point. Instead you built it a Pentagon and handed it you’re wealth, no, the wealth of the world. How do we tame it now? And by we I mean every single one of us on this rock that has been touched by either your blessings or your curses.

How do we help you to de-escalate your military whilst holding onto your ability to build a prosperous world? Your supply chains could feed everybody but not with the beast in charge!

‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist’. When science did away with God it gave the devil its chance to take the steering wheel. But who is in charge? The devil? The Rockefellers? Donald Trump?

Donald Trump isn’t the problem. The problem isn’t even just you America. The problem with America is the problem of human condition. The human heart, like you America, is split in two. Left versus Right, Modern versus Postmodern, Tribalism verses everyone else, the mind versus the body even man versus woman! All wars are ultimately sourced in the human condition. The inability to see what we can’t see. The arrogance of science thinking it can know the totality of creation leaves us without humility. Thinking that we ‘creations’ could figure out our ‘creator’ does away with the mystery of life.

Where the answer to Donald Trump lies. Is in a global understanding of life, a new religion if you like, a new way of understanding the mystery, a better one than last time. One that includes more not less. Conscious evolution! There and in impeachment! and then some basic qualifications and personality tests for our world leaders. We have the legal authority to remove from public office those who seek to do wrong but we have lost the collective will.

You America, like many of us are Tribal and fierce, Traditional and God-fearing, Modern and Godless and Postmodern and confused. All at once, all the time, constantly balancing and shifting.

Who is right, will Tribalism and violence save us? Should we go back to church and pray with the Traditionalists? Or leave it to science and godless Modernism? Or perhaps the nihilism of Postmodernism will just have us melt together as one culturally Marxist blob? If we’re not careful perhaps tribalism will melt us together with a nuclear Armageddon and the whole loop will be closed and none of our problems will matter.

Every American I’ve ever met has had an amazing quality about them. A certain ‘Je ne c’est quoi’. Enthusiasm? Optimism? Yes a glass half full approach to life. Also a bigness, it could be trainers or hair or teeth or personality but always a bigness.

I love you America but in truth like most of us you can also be a bit of a bastard. You’re very big America, like a huge, basically friendly, slightly unpredictable, exciting but drunk uncle. You liven up the party for sure but please don’t trash it were all having such a good time and we love you when you’re not being a bastard.

Love and blessings for the future America and if you need our help please don’t be afraid to ask!

A Man in a Skirt.

A Man(in a Skirt) in Defence of Feminism.

I feel a need to defend femininsm, but first I need to define that which I am defending. There are many (at least a dozen!) differing schools of feminism and it is such a broad term that in reality it is a very difficult target to attack or defend with any degree of accuracy. A large number of men and women are on the internet are ‘having a go’ at feminism but I think they need to be much more accurate and attack the specific parts of feminism that have not worked for them. So with that in mind I will try to  identify and defend the specific parts of feminism that I agree with and think desrve to be recognised for the value that they have brought to us as humans. In particular I believe that feminism has brought us to a point in history where the rights and freedoms previously only enjoyed by the ruling classes (white men?) can now be enjoyed by more and more humans. I also want to be clear that the feminism I support is not the sole preserve of women. Many men have also been involved in the extention of rights and priveledges to their brothers and sisters and I want to acknowledge that. The feminism I support is a part of the evolutionary process of the human species.

I’d like to differentiate words here and note that when using man/woman and female/male I am talking of the biological nature of our existence. The flesh and blood bodies. When I use Masculine/Feminine I am talking of matters on a spiritual level of being. The energy and spirit bodies. When I use Agency/Communion I am talking of a polarity on the psychological level of being. The mental and emotional bodies.

  1. Agency arises from strivings to individuate and expand the self and involves such qualities like instrumentality, ambition, dominance, competence, and efficiency in goal attainment.
  2. Communion arises from strivings to integrate the self in a larger social unit through caring for others and involves such qualities like focus on others and their well-being, cooperativeness, and emotional expressivity.
  3. With respect to biases in self-perception, there seems to be an agency related egoistic bias or the “superhero” bias. This is a tendency to exaggerate one’s social and intellectual status and leads to positive self-perceptions on such traits as dominance, intellect, and creativity
  4. A communion related moralistic bias can be called the “saint” bias. This being a tendency that leads to positive self-perceptions on such traits as agreeableness, dutifulness, and nurturance.

It is the agency/communion polarity and, where we each sit on the line between the two poles that I would like to address in this article. This line between two poles gets longer the further away form the biological poles of man/woman, female/male that we get. Placing or finding ones self on this line is an ingredient of self discovery.

Is there a pattern evolving here?> Is Agency descriptive of men and Communion descriptive of women? Broadly speaking of course! I think it is and here’s why.

This agency/communion divide may well (I believe it does) have its roots deep within our biology. Throughout nature there are often very clear distinctions between the roles played by the different sexes of different species. They do not follow any specific patterns other that one sex tends to be dominant. One sex seems to be more agency driven and the other seems to be more communally driven. In many animals it’s the male that looks after the young. In others it’s the eldest female that heads the pack. In clown fish there is only one female and when she dies the biggest male undergoes a sex change and turns into a female! In Komodo dragons the females don’t need a male to lay a fertilised and viable egg. Female hyenas are larger and more aggressive than the males and male sea horses are implanted with the eggs of the female, he fertilises them and carries them until they hatch.

These differences serve mostly to ensure the survival of the species. For what ever reasons they have evolved that way to ensure breeding success.  In short they do it like that because it works.

What has worked for us in the past, in terms of survival, was for women to stay at home and for men go out hunting or warring or ploughing, all of which are extremely dangerous for pregnant or nursing women. It’s a biological and historical fact that women, once of age, were more often pregnant or nursing than not, until they reached an age where it was no longer possible to bear children. So the agency/communion divide between men and women may have a very real biological and survival driven reasons. But as a species we have evolved beyond our biological needs. It’s no longer just about surviving for most of us in the western world. We are psychological and spiritual creatures too. And our psychological natures are different, not as man/woman, black/white, as our biological differences, more nuanced. Women, it seems, have a need for self determination or Agency, and men appear to have (even though many hide it) a need for emotional connectivity or Communion.

Throughout history women have often not been allowed (By men (Law) or nature or both?) to be very agentic in there lives. Self determination for women has not been high on the agenda, political or otherwise, survival was. Over the centuries laws have changed to give freedom to more and more groups of people and looking at a timeline of Female emancipation we can see that right from the 1500’s it has gone hand in hand with the emancipation of the poor and other distressed and subdued classes and groups. It’s not until we evolved to the modern world that the rights of women and others become a lot more important important to the human tribe.

What some branches of feminism are calling for is the right for women to self determine. To be, if they choose to be, what they choose to be. If a woman chooses, or is naturally drawn to be, a communal stay at home mummy who loves and nurtures her children, then other feminists would like her to be to be valued for this service as much as the hunter is valued for his service. Do you think the meats of the hunt were given in the main to those that did the hunting? Or did we share with the community because we recognised the fact that we do all exist interdependently. That without the communal, agency is homeless. So why do the best hunters get paid 1000’s of times more than the carers in our society?  In the west Agency is more highly valued than Communion, and it’s that imbalance that much of feminism seeks to address. That and the right of self determination.

Evolution is always beautiful, but it ain’t always pretty. And yes there have been many feminists who have egotistically and agentically pushed their own agendas to ‘bash men’. And men have been guilty of some terrible crimes against women. Such as burning them at the stake! Men have been guilty of doing some pretty horrific things to other men too. Too much Agency and not enough Communion can do that.

The common misreading of Charles Darwin’s ‘Evolution of the Species’ leads to a system that thinks that evolution is all about some dark fight for selfish survival. The strongest and most agentic man will grab and impregnate the most women and therefore further his genes the most. That may be one side of the story as 0.5% of the worlds population are descendants of Genghis Khan, but its not the whole picture. What Darwin really said is that Love is the primary force of evolution. He cited many examples of altruism in the natural world such as old and, in terms of the survival of the species, worthless old animal being fed and maintained by others nearby. Have you seen the video of the cheetah with the baby monkey? [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaHX6kZSnK0] She is distraught and tries desperately to nurse it. Where’s the survival drive in that? That’s love in action! The internet is rife with examples of lions nursing kittens and dogs nursing cats.

The developing sense of the rights of women and other repressed groups is our psychological and spiritual evolution. It’s growth to extend more rights and privileges to more and more people. I don’t want a world where I am my woman’s keeper, like the 1800’s. I want women to be free and self determining as much as I want them to be communing and relating. For myself I don’t want to just be being agentic all the time, I want to develop my sense of relationships. Feminism won’t be done until we all value our feminine as much as we value our masculine and we can access either or both at any given moment. Feminism I have long argued is not about Women, it’s about the Feminine. Can we men embrace that?

In summary: We all exist as agents in communion or as selves within a group. Niether  the self or the group is more valuable. In our current meme some selves are seen as more valuable and therefore other selves are seen as less valuable. In any tribe this inequality will disrupt the balance and things will be upset. Maybe a new word is needed, maybe feminism is too loaded to pull apart and find the real meaning beneath all the misreadings and downright lies. A new movement who’s intent is to extend universal rights and priviledges according to the needs and abilities of each member of the tribe. I’m currently working on a name for the new movement but before we move on I’d like to recognise the good work of feminism.

A Man in a Skirt.

Notes 1 to 4 are edited extracts from a paper entitled Agency and Communion From the Perspective of Self Versus Others by Andrea E. Abele and Bogdan Wojciszke

X-dressing

The social construct of cross dressing.

If I lived in a society where nakedness was the socially accepted norm, and I decided to branch out and wear some (strange as it might seem!;-) clothes, I would (probably) be looked upon with a certain amount of curiosity and perhaps even derision. Depending on the sensibilities of this ‘naked’ society, I may find myself in prison or even on the receiving end of violent repression. The medical and psychological sectors of this nude community might seek to diagnose and therefore ‘cure’ my ‘condition’. They might label me a ‘Vestite’ or someone who likes to wear clothes, a ‘Dresser!’

‘Vestism’ or ‘Dressing’ might become a thing and I might find myself on the fringes of a society that does not understand my desire to wear clothes. I would probably meet other people who, like me, desire to ‘Dress’ while the rest of my friends are naked. My family might be very supportive of my behaviour, whilst not understand it, or they might exclude me and feel great shame.

I might even doubt my own desire to wear clothes and may buy into the medical diagnosis of me. I might therefore seek to heal myself of my affliction. Sometimes going about my day in a completely naked condition while secretly hiding my desire to wear clothes. I might put on clothes in the secrecy of my own home, I might develop coping strategies that allow me to feel the beauty of clothes while not actually wearing them. some of these strategies might be healthy, but some might not.

The need to label is an integral part of being a human. we name and label everything we see, even ourselves. We’ve named things that are so far away from us we will only ever know what they were like 100’s of millions of years ago. There is nothing that we do not label. So it’s only right that we would label the dressing habits of our fellow humans. But labels have certain limitations. And if certain labels come with certain stigmas attached then things can get messy.

The modern world can sometimes see labels as a method of hierarchal suppression and domination. I (one label) have power over you (a different label), but labels do not necessarily have to be used this way. Labels help me to identify and I need identify myself. Who am I is a crucial question and without some labels it will be difficult to answer it. Problems arise when I identify too strongly with one label over another. When I begin to think I am or might really be one of the labels I loose sight of my true nature, which is eternal.

When we mistake the label for the object we loose sight of the true nature of the object. I am not the label, I am me.

Transvestite is a useful label as it conveys a part of the truth of who I am. I’m also a father, a son, a lover, not a fighter? a brother, a builder, a writer, a poet, and a man. But none of those labels really do justice to the complexity and simplicity that paradoxically exist at the core of each of us. Our ‘Me’ness

Transvestite is a label that I no longer fear or wish to hold on to too tightly. It’s a useful (for me) label in the current meme but its use may fall out of favour as the meme changes.

If you are struggling with what labels to attach to yourself then you have my deepest sympathies. The struggle for Self realisation is very real and is very troublesome for many. It differs from the struggle for survival or food or warmth but it is none the less a struggle. It’s a struggle to birth your Self and all birth involves death. Death of old identities and beliefs, shedding old and out of date labels. The death of the belief that men are tough and do not cry. Death of the belief that women need to stay at home and possibly the death of the belief that they don’t want to stay at home. The death of the belief that men only want to wear blue jeans. Slowly but surely things die and other things are born. Celebrities and ideas are all subjects of this law.

Blessings on your journey, whatever labels you attach to your Self.

I am, A Man in a Skirt.

A Man in a Skirt on Beauty

Beauty! What is it? According to ancient philosophers Beauty is transcendental, a quality like Truth and Goodness that runs through to the core of being. A quality that transcends being. Plato said that where we find one of the transcendentals then we find them all. Where we find Beauty, we also find Truth and Goodness and where we find Truth we find Beauty and Goodness. Beauty is not subjective. What we find beautiful is. It’s the same with Truth. Truth is Truth but ‘the truth’ is something that we have fought over for too long. My truth is better than your truth and I’ll die trying to prove it!

Beauty is the subject of many myths and stories, because like Truth and Goodness we are deeply programmed to seek it out and recognise it when we see it. The problems arise when we disagree about what we see. The revelation, to me, that what I am seeking in this life is Beauty came as a surprise.The further revelations about the ways I have been preventing myself from experiencing it has rocked my world. 2016 has been good for me like that. That one word, Beauty, it seems so innocent and easy. Put on a skirt and some stockings, some beautiful colours and fabrics e voila!? Non. Beauty is not that simple.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf describes a billion dollar industry that sells Beauty. The beauty industry sells the notion that Beauty is in a jar and is only sold by them. Not cheaply either. I mean if you had Beauty in a jar would you sell it cheap? Would you sell it at all? Or give it away to anyone? The Beauty Myth states that to have value women must be beautiful. Above all other considerations a woman’s value is her beauty. Naomi describes it so precisely and is, I think, spot on. I’ve not finished the book yet so she might make the point I’m going to make, but there is another assumption that the beauty myth makes. That assumption is, that men are not beautiful. The modern lie that Men do Truth and Goodness while women do Beauty damages us all. Why is this damaging? Why does this assumption matter? Does it matter? I think it does. Here’s why.

If Beauty is a transcendental quality and the experience of Beauty is limited and distorted then the experience of the transcendent is limited and distorted. If Beauty is distorted what happens to Truth and Goodness? Are they distorted too? If a mans experience of seeing beautiful people is limited to beautiful women then what does this say about him? Is he not beautiful? I believe that men (I know I did and I don’t believe I’m alone!) project their need for Beauty onto women, thus increasing the pressure. Not only does a woman feel her own real need for Beauty but she bears the weight of mens needs too! And of course this work both ways, women have an innate need to express and experience Truth and Goodness too but this is distorted as well.

Throughout the animal kingdom it’s the males that put on the big displays of beauty. The feathers, the dances, the nest building. Even in fish some males of the species build a beautiful nest for a female to lay her precious eggs. Think about it.  It’s the females that do the selecting when it comes to mating yet in the west males are mainly uniformed in the blue/black jeans equivalent of a peacock with plain feathers. Why would the peahen choose him? 

At a party the other day I was talking to a couple. Very typically she was beautiful and he was plain. We spoke about the effort she put in and the choices she made, ”Mainly because he likes it!” Not because she wants too!

“Well if he likes it why doesn’t he wear it?” I said 

Women have got the most beautiful and precious thing of all right there inside themselves the miraculous ability to develop a human being. Women have what we want already.I think it’s up to men to attract a woman if thats what he wants. If women collectively decided to stop doing  makeup and sexy clothes would we go off them? Would we fail to reproduce any more without the temptation of all that ‘feminine beauty’? No we wouldn’t. Heterosexual men find women attractive. It’s like a magnetic force, we are propelled toward you because you are already beautiful. I think it’s for men to prove their Beauty. Not necessarily  by shaving our legs and putting on dresses, that might work for some!:-), but by being beautiful, by making a beautiful world. By making a safe world. I also believe that we are doing that in buckets but we could do more. We can always do more as the feminine is insatiable.

My own experiences of late are heavily influenced by the prevailing Beauty Myth, that Beauty is a feminine thing. I’m attempting to find and define Beauty from a masculine angle but should I shave my legs? I mean I don’t like hairy legs on women and I do want to wear a pair of nude tights to show off my great legs under the skirt I’ve made myself. So yes I’ve shaved them and yes I like the feeling and yes it was a hassle and no I’m not sure if I want to do it all the time and yes I might just be trapped by the Beauty Myth that states that hairless is beautiful. The same with makeup and nail polish, they transform my experience of myself.

I hope you notice the abundance of question marks here? This is raising more questions than answers and I am happier now to sit in the more feminine space of not knowing rather than the more masculine space of certainty. Thank you for reading and please feel free to agree, disagree or find a happy place in the middle with me. A knowing unknown.

A Man in a Skirt.