When a French Man Explains Masculinity to Women…

Why do I write about Vin­cent Ces­pedes? Because he’s a French Philoso­pher, has pub­lished a book called ” Man, explained to women” and when I tweeted about him, here’s what I imme­di­ately got from my Amer­i­can friend Julie Daley:

So, what did he say?

On the French radio, France Inter, Vin­cent Espedes was inter­viewed in Novem­ber by Ali Ribeihi to speak about his book “L’Homme expliqué aux femmes” (“Man, explained to women”). I’m going to trans­late here the most thought pro­vok­ing ideas and also show how it’s linked to women and power in busi­ness and society.

Vin­cent Ces­pedes par fran­cein­ter

  • The Balls Phi­los­o­phy. Under this provoca­tive tit­tle, hides a rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept. For Vin­cent Ces­pedes, viril­ity is not about being “hard”, tough, hav­ing big mus­cles, abs and being ruth­less. He calls this kind of viril­ity “The Shock Wave” (l’onde de choc)- Schwartzie. No mat­ter how tough and hard one wants to be, inside, there will always be a place which will be our exis­ten­tial vul­ner­a­bil­ity and which reminds us of “the trem­bling of life” (beau­ti­ful…). Vin­cent Ces­pedes goes one step fur­ther, say­ing that woman is a ball (couille) on her own (!!!), whereas man has only got two small samples…:-)
  • The absur­dity of blam­ing women’s lib­er­a­tion for men’s cri­sis. There’s now a stream, from Canada, which aims at prov­ing that the loss of a cer­tain sen­sual appetite and capac­ity for court­ing comes from the women’s lib­er­a­tion. This is absurd, obvi­ously. Man doesn’t become less manly, he becomes more human. There is a cri­sis of mas­culin­ity, a shift towards a new rep­re­sen­ta­tion of man.
  • The real mas­cu­line power is the power to radi­ate WITH not to impose upon (just like in Dan Pink radi­a­tors ver­sus sinks…If you want to know more about it, read on the Pink Blog “There are 2 kinds of peo­ple in the world. Which are you?” ). The des­per­ate pur­suit of power and the result­ing help­less­ness it pro­duces is linked to the impo­tence of men. What Vin­cent Ces­pedes calls impo­tence, “im-puissance” in French, it’s not sex­ual impo­tence, it’s the lack of the abil­ity to let go and sur­ren­der to oth­ers. Accord­ing to him, power is the best alibi to hide this impo­tence, to fill the absence of real let­ting go.

The ulti­mate  mas­cu­line power is Hap­pi­ness. No one is more manly than a happy man. Hap­pi­ness to link with oth­ers, to con­nect. This power is not searched after, it’s given to us, as a present. It’s  the abil­ity to sur­ren­der, to let go and to be in the now.

Con­clu­sion, Mes­dames, Messieurs?

Vin­cent Cespédès advo­cates the Charm Wave instead of the Shock Wave.

You will find every­thing you’ve always wanted to know about the “beau ténébreux” (hand­some dark stranger) in this new book:

Why are Men accused to be ego­is­tic and cowards?

How to con­cil­i­ate ten­der­ness and virility ?

Respon­s­abil­ity and passion ?

How to be a good lover, a good father, a Prince charm­ing and also a House-wife ? :-)

From Sig­mund Freud to George Clooney, includ­ing dat­ing and court­ing rit­u­als, rein­vent­ing cou­ples and father­hood, Vin­cent Ces­pedes explores with a dis­arm­ing frank­ness and plenty of humour, the new unknown con­ti­nent of the 21rst cen­tury, Man.

I com­pare this with John Hagel lat­est blog post in The Big Shift: Chal­lenge and Oppor­tu­nity for Women. Another male’s per­spec­tive, this time Amer­i­can, and busi­ness oriented.

Will the next Big Shift surf on The Charm Wave? The Power to weave trusted con­nec­tions and sur­ren­der to the present?

“The future of busi­ness belongs to the fem­i­nine arche­type.  The future belongs to those of us, female or male, who can adopt and embrace the fem­i­nine arche­type.

PS: If you want to know how to embrace the fem­i­nine arche­type, I strongly sug­gest you visit this awe­some blog writ­ten by a 21rst cen­tury Goddess:

Unabashedly Female by Julie Daley, Awak­ener of Women to their Raw and Wild Creativity.

One of my favorite post is Divine Robes of Fem­i­nine Flesh and also Life is Erotic

When will some­one write Divine Silk of Mas­cu­line Flesh?

Related posts:

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10 Responses to When a French Man Explains Masculinity to Women…

  1. Hi Mar­ion — great points again. I agree in our cul­ture both men and women make huge demands on each other, ( not nec­es­sar­ily con­sciously) , to cre­ate unre­al­is­tic lev­els of expec­ta­tion. The answer lies in bal­ance! But never easy to achieve!

    • Very true Dorothy.
      What we most demand in oth­ers, or what we most critic, is often what we’re des­per­ately lack­ing. Cou­ple could last longer and over­come divorces if only we didn’t chose a part­ner to make up for our short­com­ings. I’m drift­ing there, but your com­ment made me real­ize that the biggest demand we make is on our­selves.
      First step before chang­ing gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tions in our cul­ture would be to learn to reflect and accept our femininity/masculinity, fully, powerfully.

  2. Vin­cent Ces­pedes’ quote on the ulti­mate mas­cu­line power of Hap­pi­ness and that no one is more manly than a happy man…applies also to women. Women who are are happy are very fem­i­nine (wom­anly) and pow­er­ful and will add a strong con­nect­ing link to mas­cu­line power. We need to stop blam­ing each other and find­ing excuses for each other. We should not be adver­saries for power, but should work in tan­dem with our mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine strengths, being able to accom­plish great things, adding bal­ance to our per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives.

    • Lovely to see you here, too, Leona.
      Again very true and , as Dorothy says, never easy to achieve!
      We absolutely need to work in Tan­dem, find our danc­ing (or bik­ing!) part­ner and learn to ride and swing in the same direc­tion, in order to make great things hap­pen!
      Thank you for join­ing us in this joy­ful and intense conversation!

  3. Pingback: NOW Leadership – The Brrrrr Edition | Germane Insights

  4. Ogen Laseren says:

    I am actu­ally not as well acquainted with this topic but I do like to check-out blogs for lay­out sug­ges­tions and intrigu­ing sub­jects. You cer­tainly described a topic that I ordi­nar­ily really do not care quite a bit about and man­u­fac­tured it excep­tion­ally fas­ci­nat­ing. This can be a good blog that I’ll be aware of. I already book­marked it for long term ref­er­ence. Ogen laseren

  5. Cats says:

    You should read the book “l’homme expliqué aux femmes” (if you read French) to make your own opin­ion.
    What he says is quite ambigu­ous and some­times truly sex­ist (read p 168 his strange vision of the pre­his­tory). Seems that he is not that fem­i­nist, but a man who hope to seduce a lots of women througt his strange the­o­ries of “onde de charme”.

  6. Scott Behson says:


    I agree with most of what Ces­pedes writes. I espe­cially like the “radi­at­ing with” metaphor.

    At the core, I think it boils down to matu­rity. Mature men don’t feel the need to con­stantly “prove” their mas­culin­ity and can sim­ply go about the busi­ness of being a good man.

    • Marion says:

      Thank you for your com­ment, Scott.
      I like the con­cept of matu­rity. Both in men and women actu­ally :-) When you wrote that com­ment I was just scoop­ing a post from Anne Per­schell about the fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­nity for the tal­ent pool at work in women over 50.
      Know­ing the busi­ness of how to be good human being is how­ever some­thing one should aim at learn­ing and grow­ing at any age.
      When chil­dren will be raised by bal­anced adults, at peace with their gen­der, at ease in their shoes of men or of women, they will then grow as young adult who don’t have to “prove” any­thing. The con­se­quences might be huge if we think about it…

      • Scott Behson says:

        To your point– I wrote sev­eral pieces about what I want my son to learn about work and fam­ily, and one of the most impor­tant lessons was for me to show, through my actions, that my wife’s career is as impor­tant as mine.
        My wife and I also lean in and out with the flow of our work demands, and so our son gets a lot of time with each of us as the pri­mary par­ent for stretches of time. I think, in the long run, this will help him think in less gen­dered ways (how­ever, for now, girls have cooties as far as he’s concerned)

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