This past week we have been witness to many things. Superstar Chris Brown beats his girlfriend and All Star Alex Rodriguez admits to taking steroids. Both events have caused serious discussions in certain circles and blogs about the severity of both events. It just makes me think about how we view the role of masculinity in society.
Lets view both acts as what they are, Chris Brown, for whatever reason wanted to asserted his male dominance or a female and A-Rod wanted to assert his dominance over the baseball diamond. Does that make them real men? Does a real man feel that he has to dominate another individual, or sport, or industry?
Men seem to measure how much of a man they are by the size of their penises. I want to state that obvious fact because I know when growing up I would always hear jokes about how big some one's dick was. I would always ask myself if that was really necessary? The fact is that many males equate how manly they are by the number of women they can sleep with. While that may be fine to them, these may end up being the same men that women end up avoiding in clubs because he is too old to be there. The male ego is a very fragile one and once it is broken it is hard to repair. Those who have issues with self esteem or confidence have a hard time dealing with those issues.
In college, I would here about who real men were. Apparently these are guys that step and stroll and are a part of a Fraternity. They would be able to tell you who was a real man and who wasn't. While I understood exactly what they meant by the sacrifices they made to become the men representing those organizations, I was sure if that was something that I wanted to aspire to. So again, I am left think what is a real man?
Lets start with best man that we know today: President Barack Obama. No one will question his masculinity. How is he a real man? He is a leader with vision that provides us hope. He is good husband with 2 beautiful daughters. An educated man that can take you out at a debate or break you down with a crossover. Clearly that is not a hard one to follow, but many men cannot compare.
So I will go with something simpler. A single father who raises his only son. Works tirelessly at his job to make sure that he can afford college for his son. He makes mistakes along the way because he doesn't want raise his son in the same way his father raised him, with violence. His son graduates and the next chapter in his life is spent dealing with cancer that he contracted from working late hours in manholes that contained asbestos. I would say that my father is a real man.
A real man to me is a man that can lead the way when times are difficult. A real man is man that will not let an obstacle get in his way of achieve a goal. A real man makes mistakes and is ready to pay for them when the time comes. A real man also acknowledges these mistakes and learns from them while being able to cope with it. A real man does not need to assert his control on other people because he is confident in himself. A real man knows the difference between gentle and firm.
Once you recognize those traits. You will know who the real men in your life are. They are not perfect in any way, but they will always leave an good impression on you.
A real man understands his strengths and weaknesses and understands that his greatest weakness is that he doesn't know everything - and in doing so this becomes his greatest strength. A real man understands that consequences directly follow actions and mans up to them --- good or bad. A real man is responsible --- for his assets, his liabilities, and most importantly his word.
Nice one, LN.
Great post! So often men equate their "manliness" with sexual prowess or physical strength. Those are but minor aspects of a man's being that make him a real man. You and E hit it on the head. A real man takes responsibility, has integrity, knows his strengths and weaknesses and knows how to navigate both. And other man cower in the presence of a real man...a real man stands taller among the rest.
E - Thanks, I think as men of color we need to show the younger generation what a real man is. I learned how to be one just by the actions of my father...
Brook, I think the most important thing is that women also recognize that too. It does take a real woman to know what a real man is...
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