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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  1. Terri Sonleitner on March 6, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I recently paid a man friend a compliment. I said: You are very masculine, yet sensitive, a great combination. And it is!

  2. hmickeyjd on March 6, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Masculinity is not under attack, you say? You might want to ask the man-hating feminists and the #metoo hatemongers about that.

  3. J.F. on March 7, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Amen! And it seems that James didn’t learn anything from the last round on this topic. There were many great arguments against his kind of thinking that it appears he just dismissed or ignored.

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Hi J.F., I appreciate your anonymous comment. Just because I didn’t change my opinion based on arguments doesn’t mean I ignored or dismissed them, I simply maintain that men should keep their masculine edge while also working to express themselves on a deeper level.

  4. Tom on March 7, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Ha ha, James doubling down on his simp ideology! Come look ladies! Here is the ultimate pussy feminist with a penis.

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      Hi “Tom,” I’m simply reiterating the opinions that I hold personally around the topic. Perhaps if you contact the producer of the show, they’d be interested in getting a different opinion? I’d be curious to watch your interview.

  5. Tony S. on March 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    It seems that James has spent his life around immature men, and hence he has a warped perspective of what he thinks ¨Real Men¨ are like. Looking at how he dressed for the TV interview supports my assumption. The stupid things he says about how men act — Really?

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      Hey Tony, thanks for the comment. The last time I appeared on this show I went with a full suit and dress shoes, perhaps I should’ve gone that route again? I am always open to suggestions for how to improve appearance.

      Additionally, I’m interested to know which stupid things you’re referring to. My opinions about men being masculine but also kind, don’t seem to really be that controversial to me. Can you explain a bit further?

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment and add to the conversation. Always looking to learn from others.

      – James

  6. Tom on March 7, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    You don’t like my name for some reason?

  7. Tom on March 7, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    And when I go on shows, it’s science based, fact based and not just a bunch of dumb opinions that have no foundation.

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      That sounds great and perhaps something I can learn from. Could you please link and appearance or two of yours so I can see your approach? Any help is appreciated.

  8. J.F. on March 7, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    What? You want me to give my address and phone number too? Maybe my Social Security Number would make you happy? What the site asked for isn’t enough for you? Then talk to the owners of the site software. Geez, how arrogant can a douche be? Was I ¨expressive¨ enough for you this time?

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Hi again, J.F. none of that would be necessary but I do appreciate the offer. The only thing I said was that it’d be insightful to watch you be interviewed on the same topic, I’m not sure where all of the lashing out is coming from. Not very masculine, but that would explain your anonymity to avoid accountability. 🙂

  9. J.F. on March 7, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    What anonymity? I complied with the details of YOUR vlog. And who would I be accountable to? You? Ha ha, that’s funny. My masculinity? What, are you going to start with yo mama jokes too? If I was a woman commenting, maybe you would want to chest bump me to show how masculine you have evolved to be? And you want to educate the troglodyte world of men with that unbecoming logic? To bad we can’t hang a sign around your neck that says POSER!

    On the same topic I would defer to Jordan Peterson and maybe Ben Shapiro. No need for another talking head on the insane topic. Reading the other comments here, let me clue you in on why men that don’t smoke cigars, drink scotch and drive sporty cars (or for that matter dress like pop divas) would think so poorly of your comments: -153, -0:52, -0:17.

    I did go back and read the other vlog mentioned earlier. It’s quite clear you learned nothing from having your opinions challenged by critical thinkers.

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      I do appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration as I do with all comments that I feel could provide value, regardless of presentation. There is no surprise you mentioned Peterson or Shapiro given your approach here, but I do find a lot of value in what Jordan has to say and I think he’s spot on in many regards.

      Thanks again for spending your time on my blog to help my rankings, and I do hope to someday see your television interview on a similar topic.

      Have a great day,

      – James

  10. Tom on March 7, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Why my name in quotes? There is no grammatical reason for that. Check my credits on Nat Geo.

    • James Michael Sama on March 7, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      I’d love to! What further information can I search for to find you? I’m sure just searching for Tom won’t be adequate to find you on Nat Geo.

      I’m also sure you can relate, as someone in the media yourself, that many people use the shield of anonymity to criticize others without personal accountability – I apologize for misinterpreting your intentions.

      Would love to check out your experience if you’d send further information. Thanks again,

      – James

  11. Tom on March 9, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Hello James,

    Indeed I understand very well! It’s like uneducated hacks saying something like: ¨Hey, I don’t have a degree in this topic, was never formally educated, but hey, I’ve got opinions and who needs facts when you’ve got opinions anyways?

    As a social archaeologist (yes, that’s two Ph.D.s) on top of a masters in psychology, my consulting work on TV programs in Los Angeles doesn’t get any criticism. I’m usually helping the producers dumb down the science for typical American consumption. For the Euro shows, we actually ramp it up a bit. If you need help in understanding the science that confronts your erroneous opinions (on subjects that you’ve written upon), you are welcome to enroll in my postgraduate program, where we teach candidates the value of critical thinking along with peer validated research.

    – Tom

    • James Michael Sama on March 9, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      That sounds fantastic. Can you provide links or information for the program? I’d definitely be interested in checking it out to further my education beyond my current degree. Thanks so much for offering this up.

      Also looking forward to how I can view your television appearances to learn from how you present yourself also. I’m just a guy who started a blog that got some attention so your example is one I would be honored to learn from.

      Much appreciated.

      – James

    • James Michael Sama on March 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      If it’s easier you could please email me at James@JamesMSama.com. I am humbled by someone of your expertise taking the time to further educate me on how to improve.

  12. Tom on March 9, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Oh, I should mention James, that your ¨VLOG¨s (and to be fair, not just yours, they use a variety of ¨authors¨) are used by some of my colleges to open discussions and demonstrate the fallacies of uneducated opinions (another way of saying that common sense is often incorrect when confronted in academia). I’m torn between advising you to put down the keyboard and to stop the hack philosophising and encouraging you to continue for the investigative value your sophomoric opinions provide our graduate students. The assignments are along the lines of, research the data behind what James and others claim in their opinions.

    • James Michael Sama on March 9, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Hi again Tom,

      Still waiting for links to your appearances or courses I can take to further my education, simply being a guy with a personal blog just like millions of other people expressing their personal opinions online.

      Again, looking forward to any viable evidence that you have any expertise whatsoever. I’m sure you understand the value of evidence.


    • James Michael Sama on March 9, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      It should be noted that you’ve commented with many credentials here and have provided precisely zero identification and zero references to disprove you simply just being a random troll, so I’ll go ahead and assume you’ve got zero credibility until you show some sort of solidity in your comments.

      Thanks again for helping my rankings as a scholar spending so much time on my modest little blog here.

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