by | Jan 9, 2021 | Clear Light

Many of us grow up in a materialistic society, in a capitalistic system. If you achieve the American dream – or whatever word you want to use to mean success – it does not matter if you step on other people’s toes to get there, you know? In many ways, this is how we are educated.

Just because you are super rich, everybody admires you even though you may treat your employees so badly. Maybe your workers are poorly paid, barely being able to cover expenses, and have a reasonable quality of life.

When it is like that, it is very hypocritical. I mean if you have so much money, you should take care of your employees, right? That would be the very reason to be kind to your employees because they are the ones who helped you to get those riches in the first place.  You have a responsibility to them. You would think that would be the normal thing to do, right?

If you consider society, there is an aspect that is sick. Why? Even war is legal! How can war be legal? Does that make any sense? War for peace. “Oh, we are waging war for peace!”

I do not know. This is difficult to think about. War. How is war legal? How is that possible? How did that happen? How do you even get there?

If you study history, you see that for thousands of years humans have been slaughtering each other. It has been like that for as long as we remember.

Perhaps when it was a matriarchy, it was not so much like that – hopefully. Yeah, it became like that when it was patriarchy. “Here, my son, take this spear. Show him who is boss!” You know – that concept.

We should talk a little here about the concept of machismo, and, also, about the education of gender equality. Domestic violence and sexual assault are the most terrible things. 

I think, sometimes, when a man expresses himself in a very macho way, showing aggressive pride in his masculinity, he is not “Manly”, at all. I think that person lacks appropriate masculinity. He acts like that because he feels he must show physical superiority. Then he thinks, “I am going to impose that.” This is toxic masculinity. It is harmful not just to women but to men, themselves, and society overall.

I think this attitude is a lack of masculinity, a lack of self-worth, a lack of empathy. It shows insecurity.  In Spanish, we say, “prepotencia.” I am not sure you use that concept in English. It means he feels inferior, so he tries to act superior.

We must wake up to this situation.  We must be clear about this. 

When a male exhibits an overbearing attitude to anyone in a position he perceives as inferior to his, demanding complete subservience, this is a cover-up.  He is avoiding his feminine traits and emphasizing strong masculine ones. The base of this machismo is an inferiority complex.

Ultimately, we all have female and male energy, you know? We need to see this. If we do not, it is because we are not loving ourselves.

In my opinion, men are especially afraid of seeing this. That is why they try to show their superiority by hiding their kindness, their so-called female aspect. This is because, when you have that kind of mentality, showing kindness is a sign of weakness. Perhaps therefore there are wars. They must conquer others.

In all fairness, my intention is not to demonize men or male attributes.  Rather, I am emphasizing the harmful effects of certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance and competition.

What is your opinion?


  1. claudio cipullo

    Until we human beings don’t reconize the real enemy within, there is no solution.
    We can see in the degeneration of people. we hope everything will increase for the better but look for example the degeneration of medicine that now became just a big business, nothing to do with reality.
    The Mahayana Buddhism offered a solution, the Lojong, but people take it as too backward, let’s say naive.
    But only by subduing our mind we can find a solution.
    Yet this is taken as a nice naive story. Why?

  2. claudio cipullo

    I just saw in the BBC news that the Queen of England just got an injection against corona virus.
    Can You imagine she never take any ordinary medicine, a lie.
    That’s all.

  3. Brian Hart

    Yes spot on agreed. From amongst the countless chauvinistic attitudes displayed by the masculine component of society by both genders “prepotencia” (not a word I knew) is deeply rooted from our primitive natures it would seem.


  4. Andy Wistreich

    Thank you, Osel for speaking out about this. Patriarchy must stop. As you say, this isn’t against masculinity. We just need sex equality. This starts inside us. Each of us carries the marks of patriarchy. To be free, we need to balance our inner femininity and masculinity. This applies to everyone – woman, man, and neither of these. If enough of us make this change inside, the culture will gradually change and improve. This is Dharma practice. Inner transformation, leading to outer transformation.

  5. Rosalyn Williams

    Oh that was good I lost my comment because I logged out before saving it.
    To follow from Andy, with meditation and study the two energies within us of male and female could weaken and move closer and therefore our mind , our body, our speech could have more room to be creative and maybe we could eventually create an individual Buddha whom is more accessible to everyone. Dare I say it ? Lama O

  6. Margaret Bachtler

    Thank you Osel! I appreciate your bringing attention to this important topic. I think that most people are like computerized robots. Family, culture, society, etc. download information on what it means to be a man and it is acted out. Many men learn, especially in the West, that dominance and competitiveness are valuable characteristics which lead one to have the good life i.e. the car, the home, a desirable woman, etc. The good news is that Buddhism teaches us about impermanence so we know the happiness feeling doesn’t last from having these things. We learn that happiness is not derived from the external world but rather it comes from our own mind. Initially it is challenging to understand this and then when intellectually understood the real challenge is to make that mind shift. Fortunately, Buddhism gives the tools for this and we have endless time to work on it.

  7. Stephie Brennan

    Thank you for raising this. In Australia this machismo is also such a problem. Domestic violence and the belittling of women in the workplace and places where some men feel threatened, is a huge issue. Statistics show this, but speaking personally, and having worked with women and families suffering violence from men, the reality is terrifying for children and families. In terms of connecting with the positive male and female qualities within us, this is a wonderful thing, and however people identify – LGBTQI – should be respected. Thank you again.

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