What It Means to be a “Real Man” is Evolving, and so is Masculinity
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In more recent months with the controversial Gillette advertisement, there really is a mainstream focus on what it means to be a “real man” in society.
Many men lashed out at the ad, which negatively portrayed things like bullying and harassing women, claiming the ad was designed to attack masculinity and take away their ability to be a “real man.”
Essentially I believe what’s happening here is that men feel their identity in society is being threatened. But, why is a man’s identity rooted in things like harassing women or senseless violence?
The men who feel threatened typically fall into a stereotypical “man’s man” mold who like to live a traditionally “manly” lifestyle. The “bro” life as it could be called.
The men who are unbothered and/or supportive the message seem to be overall more well rounded and diverse in their interests. They’re more emotionally awakened and connected to themselves and others.
Some guys just read that last segment and said “those dudes sound like bitches.” And, therein lies the problem.
Here’s the thing: The biological reality of men is that we strive to feel useful. We want to be wanted, and utilized in a variety of ways. This is why we will rush to change your tire, or kill that spider, or open the pickle jar.
Yes, yes, I know women don’t NEED us to do all of that – but when you ask us, it makes us feel like we bring value to your life. We often (not always) show our affection through acts of service.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
These men, who are supportive of masculinity’s evolution in society, are ALSO working to evolve as human beings and THEREFORE continue to be “useful” in the modern day. They are changing and growing along with the society around them, so will not feel left behind by it.
Men who are stagnant and do not choose to enhance or improve their skillset are feeling threatened because they are being made to feel less useful. Perhaps their jobs are being automated, perhaps their wives are frustrated with little communication, perhaps they are frustrated because they don’t truly understand themselves since they’ve been conditioned to avoid doing so.
The concept of protecting or providing for a family in 2019 is MUCH different than it was in 1959. Or 1909. Or 1859. Or 1709. You get the idea.
Society is different. Women are different. Relationships are different. Skills required to succeed are different…so, then, men MUST ALSO be different. And the ones who are upset by this unavoidable reality, are the ones doing nothing about it.
They’re not working to grow, to develop, to evolve. As men, partners, friends, humans…
The bottom line is this: Masculinity is not under attack. The way masculinity is expressed is simply transforming.
Women still want men to be masculine and protective. To be capable and diverse in their skillsets. To be able to handle conflicts and challenges when they arise. Nobody is arguing otherwise.
But – there is much higher demand to ALSO be emotionally connected to yourself and others. The emotionless and disconnected are no longer winning.
We see strength in authenticity and expressing ourselves now, rather than the unemotional stoicism of the “mad men” era.
Men who understand that you can be masculine and kind, are winning.
That you can be masculine and emotionally connected.
That you can be masculine and express how you feel to those around you.
We do not need to beat our chest to ward off enemy tribes anymore.
We do not need to venture into the woods in hopes of bringing home dinner to the family anymore.
A hammer is useless when solving a math problem. We must work to become a Swiss army knife of a man, or risk being left behind otherwise.
I believe a mark of maturity and intelligence is not resorting to defensive lashing out when we feel threatened or under scrutiny, but instead, taking the time to self reflect and ask why we might be feeling that way.
That’s what the modern man should do.
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