Showing posts with label men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label men. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2024

Simply Great: A Post for Women's History Month

She was told she would never amount to anything. She weathered plagues, war and threats to her life. She was betrayed by the two men who should have loved her the most (her father and husband), and she was surrounded by corruption and a selfish Nobility, to name just a few problems, not to mention being a woman in a world that, at that time, belonged 100% to men. 

And even though giving in or running away from her troubles would have been the easiest solutions, Catherine the Great refused those options. She did not cower, hate or put her circumstances off on someone else. She took the highest crown her nation had, and became the only Empress in Russian history to ever be called The Great. She reminded all generations why she was alive and what destiny had laid out for her.

During my last year at University in 2023, my final class was modern European history, and I wrote a flawless term paper on Catherine the Great, an A+. The grade was so high that I could have not taken the final exam and still passed the class. My love for Catherine literally secured my degree, and it's something I will always hold dear. When people talk about who they would like to meet if they could go back in time, I always list at least Catherine, because we would have an awesome conversation and then, probably, amazing sex, as Catherine was known for her expressive sexual side. Equally important, not only was Catherine down to earth in this regard, she was also polyamorous, which is another natural part of human sexuality that is still shamed away by social norms.

To me, she embodies a lot of what a woman should still be today, which is strong, confident, and accepting of their sexual desires. In a world where women have been made so ashamed of their natural selves that they won't even acknowledge that a man is handsome or that they like him, Catherine is a liberating spirit that women desperately need. But I also think more and more women are waking up and breaking free of these anti-woman and anti-human norms. Not only are women and men both becoming more sexually open, but they are realizing that there's nothing wrong with being attracted to more than one person.

My wife once told me that I have a thing for strong female rulers, and that it's not a bad thing. But I think Catherine is my favorite above all those. She understood that life was made to live, and live to the fullest. All of her critiques and haters from back then are long dead and forgotten. Only she remains known, admired and still loved to this day. The lesson is to not care what other people think. They won't matter in years to come. What will matter is whether you lived the life you truly wanted. Love, sex and power were her hallmarks. She would have had none of them, however, if she had bowed to the exact same social norms that women still bow to in our own time. And the worst part is that social norms can become so ingrained that we think it's our own desire when it's nothing more than what we've been programmed to do.

In a broader sense, Catherine escaped the prison that so many are still confined to. I think Catherine would tell all of us that, inside ourselves, is the power to overcome and accomplish anything, if we are just brave enough to try. 

You can read my college paper on Catherine for free by clicking here.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Toxicity Overhead: Struggles Of Men With Social Norms

I don't think we realize just how negatively social norms can impact men as well as women. We tend to think of women because they are the most oppressed by them, but men have their share of undue and inhumane burdens placed on them by ridiculous standards of masculinity perpetuated by our modern culture. These standards normally take the form of what we have come to call Toxic Masculinity, which can be just as harmful to men as women. 

When I am driving home, there is an electronic billboard as I enter the City. One thing it has advertised in recent times is gambling, telling the viewer that they have the opportunity to win big, and the picture is of a smiling man being kissed by a woman. To a man, this says that if you get lots of money, you'll get the women, so come try for it. Men are commonly told this a lot, "no romance without finance." We are taught that our value is in how much money we have, and the only worth we have to the opposite sex is that dollar amount. If a man fails to live up to the success of being wealthy enough to basically buy a woman, he has failed in his manhood. Once this has been established in the minds of men, all of their self-esteem is in this flawed ideal. It also hurts women because it trains them to look for money alone, and not necessarily a partner who is good for them.

For the longest time, I even viewed myself through this scope. I would think back to some of the women I fell in love with and lost, and convinced myself that if I had been rich, they would have never left me. And for argument's sake, that might have been true in some cases. But it keeps men from finding true love, and creates immense self-loathing the vast majority of the time. Men are bombarded with sexual goals by social norms. Not only are we told the above, but also that our success as a man is marked by how many women we've slept with. That's why as early as middle school the boys bragged about having sex on a regular basis. Of course they hadn't, but that social norm of being a man through sexual achievement was burned into our minds from birth, and so we were willing to even lie about it, if it proved our manhood. Modern sexual and social norms have really made mental prisoners of both men and women.

Part of my work as a writer, philosopher and teacher has been to help free my fellowman of this ridiculousness and exploitation. For starters, I've never tried to "afford" a partner, because if she's only with me for money, she's not really with me. And second, I've had my fair share of sexual partners throughout my life. What matters is the strength of your honor and virtue as a man. I'm certainly not saying that sexual satisfaction isn't important. In fact, I don't think we place enough emphasis on it in relationships and life in general. Humans are sexual beings, and that part of us needs just as much care and reverence as any other. In our 12 years together, my wife and I have never lost our passion for one another, and it's one of the things that makes our relationship powerful and exciting. Sex IS important and sacred. But you can be a great man no matter how much or how little sex you've had.

I am aware that these norms are still abundant in our society, but when I saw the billboard in my City, I was a little more disappointed to see it in the liberal state of Illinois. It is certainly free speech, but I would like to think that the people of our state are more enlightened and dignified.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Courage and Honor,
Chris Aldridge.