4.01.2008

A New Masculinity

Susan Williams writes about a discussion with Marty Pentz about masculinity, archetypes, and NWTA.

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A New Masculinity
By Susan Williams

Moving away from achetypes to a 'more inclusive societal framework'

As life changed dramatically for women during the late 1900s, it also changed for men. So, on the heels of "feminism" comes "new masculinity."

Marty Pentz, an assistant professor of social work at Indiana University East, researches men's issues, among other topics.

What is "new masculinity?"

"It is basically an attempt to leave dominant patriarchy and move to a more inclusive societal framework," said Pentz. He refers to Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette's book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, in discussing archetypes, new masculinity and the mature male, but emphasizes there are other archetypal patterns as well.

"An archetype, according to Webster's, is an original pattern or model from which other things of the same kind are made," said Pentz. "In individual people, the archetypes are derived from the experience of the human race and are present in the unconscious of the individual.

"The mature male is one who has integrated Moore and Gillette's four archetypes--the king, warrior, magician, lover--and continues to confront the destructive shadow side of each. The mature masculine of each archetype is toward the center of two opposite and destructive poles, one active and one passive," Pentz explained.

"For example, the mature king energy integrates the tyrant and the weakling and the mature warrior integrates the sadist and the masochist."

Pentz has researched and participated in the New Warrior Network, now called the ManKind Project Network (MKPN). The program features an introductory workshop--New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA)--which refers to these four archetypes.

"The New Warriors grew out of a discussion of three men over ten years ago--Ron Herring, a therapist; Bill Kauth, a therapist and member of the mythopoetic men's movement; and Rich Tosi, a former Marine captain. They believed that men needed more masculine ways of dealing with feelings and that they needed to do this together."

According to Pentz, New Warriors attempts to help participants integrate the archetypal polar extremes by using techniques such as Jungian psychology, visualizations and aspects of gestalt therapy during the introductory weekend and in an ongoing training group. The weekend also uses rituals and rites of passage."The rite of passage has been historically an important cultural and individual developmental milestone and is mostly absent in modern culture," said Pentz. "Rites of passage provide recognized paths across the boundary separating childhood and adulthood, and when completed, the participant is recognized as an adult by his or her culture.

"The confirmation in the Christian religion, and the bar and bat mitzvahs of Judaism are currently active rites of passage," he continued. "They are done in the early teens, however, an age that is not recognized as adult in our society.

"The discontinuation of rites of passage results in a lack of connection between our youth and the rest of society."

In The Power of Myth, the late Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers discussed this issue, writing about "the news of the day, including destructive and violent acts by young people who don't know how to behave in a civilized society." They go on to write, said Pentz, that often inner city youth "have their own gangs and their own initiations and their own morality, and they're doing the best they can. But they're dangerous because their own laws are not those of the city."

"This reflects an issue social workers see on a daily basis--men who have no connection to an ethic or morality other than 'what I want is right' and an ethic that says, 'I can get what I want any way I want it,'" said Pentz, who believes there are social policy and practical implications to be found in programs such as New Warriors.

"We need to study the possibility of programs to initiate young men into a 'mature masculinity' that is nurturing and loving and encompasses Smurl's five aspects of ethics and morality theory--self-cultivation, truth telling, promise keeping, beneficence or love and justice."

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