Thank you for participating in this writing prompt and for such an articulate answer, even if you feel that it is incomplete. It’s a very personal snapshot of how destructive these kinds of genderized boxes truly can be.
One of the main aspects of any dominance hierarchy society is the glorification of pain and violence as just a byproduct of what is needed to win and more importantly, not to lose. It’s even a central aspect of our main religion, with the primary symbol being a man dying on a torture device. When you step back and notice that, it’s kind of insane, but when it’s just the water of the ocean that you swim in, well, that’s just the way things are.
My husband recently retired at 53 because he could. None of his peers can understand why he would do that, because as you said, “men work.” Many of them don’t know who they are if that isn’t what they are doing. They may dislike it, and even resent it, but that is what men do. What else is there? Turns out to be all kinds of interesting things….