Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.
I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with. Then again, I’m not the easiest adult to deal with either. But for all my attitude and possible arrogance, one of my mother’s lessons always stuck with me. “If you want to be treated like a grown man, behave like a grown man.” If I had the big boy pants to try to do something, I had to deal with the big boy consequences of what I did. Simple enough, right?
Some time ago, the internet went on a buzz as we began to demonize the phrase “Man Up.” SJW went on rants as how this phrase was used to instill toxic expectations on men and how the marketing media would use it to manipulate us by telling us what beer “Men” drank, what was “Manly” clothing, or what truck you had to own to be a “Real Man.” Videos and posts were shared as we went on a crusade to get rid of that degrading idea, as we realized just how evil “Man Up” is…
Till we all rejoiced how a young woman within an animated movie proved just how empowering "Man Up" is, or rather how powerful Woman Up is. You see, Man Up or Woman Up is really about Standing Up for yourself, about growing up into your responsibilities, about being accountable for your actions. We see this in the character’s take charge attitude as she is no damsel in distress. She became a role model for girls, as she showed just how strong a strong woman is.
And this theme has been repeated over and over as motivational and empowering ideals for girls and women. “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” Girls are taught that it’s ok to cry, just as long as you than pull yourself together and come back stronger. The result of this message? Women who take charge and take no shit.
So then, if it’s such an empowering message to give to girls, one that has enormous results in providing a positive reinforcement in their development, why do we dismiss it and even demonize it when said to men? Because that would mean that men need to GROW THE (Insert appropriate swear word here) UP! It would mean that they need to take responsibility and accountability for their actions. It means that they can’t blame anyone else for their failures or justify not doing anything because “it’s too hard.”
Gentlemen, nobody is telling you it’s unmanly to be knocked down. Nobody is telling you it’s unmanly to ask for help. Nobody is even telling you it’s unmanly to even cry. What we are telling you is that life is hard. That it will knock you down. That you will have to ask for help and you will even cry every once in a while. That’s life. What you can’t do is stay knocked down, or shell in your own shame to avoid asking for help or let your pity party keep you from moving forward. And to do that you have to put on your grown up pants and belt. You need to deal with grown up problems like a grown up. And you need to stop acting like a boy and Man Up!