How many times have you heard or uttered the words ‘be a man.’ Probably a few times and before going any further to avoid confusion, here’s my definition of a man.
A dangly organ between your legs. That’s it.
Now if you’re easily offended or disagree with my assessment, it is best to stop reading now because when it’s all said and done, I still want you to at least like me. But this thing has been on my mind for a bit, so here it is.
Be a man. What does that mean? What does it entail? Let’s jump in and explore this subject.
The Stereotypical Man
From my standpoint of being a 52-year-old male, here’s what I feel society thinks a man is and the way they should act.
Strong: Not only physically but mentally too. Showing weakness is a weakness. Sucking it up and enduring and not talking about your problems.
Breadwinner: In a male-female relationship, the man needs to be the main provider.
Decisionmaker: What he says goes and the buck stops with him.
Stubborn: Following on from above, once his mind is made up, he will stick to his guns no matter what. This is good and bad.
Provide a shoulder to cry on: Because the man is the rock.
Role model: Particularly if you’re a parent you need to set some sort of example for your kids to follow because it’s all monkey see monkey do.
Bigger is better: Either striving to climb the corporate ladder, adding size to the gym, or wanting more money or status.
This could go on for a bit but I’m assuming you get the picture. None of this is bad per se and for some, it is, good. But by not meeting these stereotypes, does this mean I’m less of a man? Food for thought.
How Media Has Shaped The Image Of Man
Glad you’re still with me but again if you’re easily offended, you should probably stop reading. Here is how I feel about how men are portrayed in the mainstream media in no particular order.
How many TV shows or ads show men being unable to decide without a women’s say-so? Or the male being submissive once she had decided and says nothing.
Men being shown as bumbling fools who are unable to do or say anything right. Basically, making men look stupid.
Let’s not forget the overly aggressive stereotype that men can only solve problems with their fists.
And how about the man who never takes no for an answer and can be guilty of some pretty horrific crimes against women and men. Granted, this one happens quite a bit (in real life) because men (most likely) commit more sexual and violent crimes than women. But not all men are like this.
There’s a reason why there are not many male teachers.
Let me end with another big stereotype IMO. If men disagree with the current narrative, they are either sexist, racist, detached from current society, a caveman, or even a bigot. As some men grew up in a different time and place doesn’t make them bad or good, just different.
Yes, men can be those things but sometimes if it’s a different opinion than the current view, they may be labeled with these things and more.
A Personal Example Of Manhood
Being 52 a married father of two teenage boys has given me a little more perspective on being a man and what it takes to be one.
Let’s get obvious over with.
Social media is a game changer when it comes to the perception of one’s self. Boys who are growing up, trying to find their identity and where they fit in are easily influenced by what they see on social media. This is why fathers need to model and advise their children that what they see and hear isn’t necessarily how it is.
That is a constant challenge.
My boys couldn’t be any more different. One wears jewelry, paints his nails, dyes his hair, and is extremely fashion-conscious. Some of these traits could be seen as feminine. Plus, he is even-tempered and smart. The other is tall, and thin and plays video games in his spare time and tries hard but is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
They are not your stereotypical men, but their traits don’t make them any less of a man.
Me, well I’m not the breadwinner of the house nor the main decision maker. My wife often jokes that I wear pants, but she buys them. During the week, I perform, most of the cooking and cleaning while working around my stay-at-home job. Some of the duties I perform could be seen as old-school female work. But nowadays, I feel we are past that.
Plus, I attend therapy, show weakness regularly, change my mind at the drop of a hat, and I am happy with the money I make. Even if that doesn’t make me my top dog in my house. Does this make me less of a man?
Be A Man: A New Definition
Even though I’m not a huge fan of this saying, let’s redefine what it means to be a man.
A man can be
Strong and show weakness.
Can ask for help.
Not be the main decision maker and breadwinner.
Can support his partner if he or she is the main breadwinner.
Not stubborn and more open to ideas.
Can be happy with his station in life and not always want more.
Not always a creeper and can take no for an answer. Men hear this a lot and should be used to it anyway. 😊
Can cook clean and pick up the slack around the house.
Being a man is more than being a macho testosterone-filled sex-crazed corporate climber. Some men have evolved, and it is okay to be happy with your station in life. It’s fine to have different ideas and opinions of a different time and none of this makes you less of a man.
Remember what men all have in common? That’s what makes you a man and the rest is up to you. Stereotypes be damned.