We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The internet is riddled with articles exposing the damaging effects of manhood’s expectations on men, on the toxic behavior that has been not only condoned but rather promoted, as a boy grows into adulthood. We blame masculinity for all the shortcomings of men today, as we try to break away from the shackles of the oppressive restrictions that men place on themselves due to gender. Yet with all this negative implications placed on men, I am left wondering about all the great men, men who have left a legacy to the world, men who prove just how great men can be. That’s when I have to ask myself, is it manhood that is toxic to men, or are we as a society become toxic to men?
You see, for every time you call out the toxicity of masculinity, I am reminded of men willing to go above and beyond to help others because it’s the right thing to do. For every comment of the chains that hold back men, I am reminded of men whose strength of character has helped make this a better world as they are the first to volunteer to be strong. For every time you tell me I should be ashamed of being a man, I stand proud in the knowledge that being a man is nothing to be ashamed of.
It’s funny how every time a man does good, social media views him as a person or an individual, but when a man does wrong, his actions are a reflection of the potential evil within all men. A good man is special and a bad one is proof that all men are the same? Really? Yes, some men are bad, but it’s not because they are men.
It isn’t manhood that has placed toxic expectations on men, but a society that has bread insecure men who feel they need to prove themselves constantly. We are trying so hard to prove how damaging masculinity that we don’t realize it’s our persecution of masculinity that is hurting men. We are creating our own self-fulfilling prophecy about broken men when it’s our own persecution, negative perspectives, and judgmental attitude that are breaking men.
We need to create men who are sure enough of themselves that they see no reason to prove their manhood. And to do this we need to stop attacking manhood. We need to stop promoting the image of a man as one who works a 9 to 5 job, but one that works 24/7 to better his character. We need to stop promoting the idea that a man needs to be the main financial provider as he needs to make more money than his wife, but rather the idea that money doesn’t define the support he gives to his family. We need to stop measuring manhood with a tape line around his bicep, the length of his penis, or the size of his cojones.
We need to stop telling men that they have to attack masculinity as a way to prove they are not being victimized by it. We need to stop telling men that their own personal faults and flaws are not their responsibility as they can blame them on masculinity. We need men who know that they are responsible for themselves and the kind of man they can be!
But to be this kind of man, to understand this kind of manhood, we need to start looking at what men can do and what manhood offers them. Manhood is what gives your life priorities, as you calmly step away from the narcissism and selfishness of childhood. Manhood is defined by what you are willing to do to take care of your family, your friends, and your community. Manhood is defined by the bond you have with brothers you share no blood with. Manhood is defined by what you are willing to do past your own comfort. Manhood is having personal honor and a moral code that defines your behavior more than any laws of the land. Manhood is having the character to hold yourself accountable for your own actions. Manhood is about trying to be a better man for one simple reason, to be able to face life’s challenges proudly on your feet as a man.