Being male in the Twenty First Century
Okay, as most of you that read me regularly you will already know that I’m a Man. I’m Male, Masculine, XY. So what does that mean? What does it mean to be Male? It may seem like a stupid question but we should be asking ourselves this more often. What is our purpose? What is our role in life? I think once you learn to define yourself then you can have a better understanding of what your position in the world is.
So I’m male; but my definition of being male goes against the grain of society. Why? Because I’m not going to let other people tell me how to live my life. You see, there’s this massive idea in Popular circles that men shouldn’t show emotion. We should be emotionless; keep the stiff upper lip, or get up when we get knocked down. To me that sounds insane, you know? I feel. And I feel very hard. I tell my Son that I love him very much because I do, I’ll tell him this until I am no longer for this world. I get really sad when I hear that someone dies, or has an accident. And I celebrate to the ends of the earth when my friends taste success.
Yet I don’t only feel basic emotion; I hurt when someone I enjoy being around tells me that they no longer want to be around me, I’m eager to do better with my life, I’d get jealous if my wife was flirting with another man and I’d feel a failure if someone I really admire told me that my work was rubbish. I hurt, I cry, I get mad, I’m often happy. The difference? I show it. I don’t care if someone tells me to “man up” because I’m feeling scared that my Son has a fever. In fact “man up” must be the single most dis-empowering emasculating words I’ve ever heard in my life. But that’s a different story.
Since Victorian times it has been unacceptable for a man in the household to show any emotion whatsoever; my Granddad was very Victorian. I knew he loved me to bits but never once did he utter those words; my own Dad, I don’t think I have ever felt the feel of his own skin on mine, never mind a kind word. And the male roles in my Childhood from Mum, they were nice, but again, very old school. What chance did I have of spreading love and comfort into my family?
Would you credit that ALL the seriously confidence-boosting, love-inducing, aura-spreading people in my life have been women? (editor note: Shawna Ayoub Ainslie, I am learning about myself in this article. This is why I do it too!) And it’s probably why I’ve learned a great deal, no in fact a HUGE deal about emotional intelligence. I dare say I wasn’t really born with it, but perhaps surrounding myself with loads of really great women from an early age helped. It is by this that I’ve managed to combine both what I have learned about myself, and that along the way from other people that I can now sufficiently create a different life path for my little family.
And back to the topic. Being a Male in the 21st Century is more about rediscovering ourselves. We have the tools to do so now that great Psychologists and Sociologists have stood up and thought, “Haaaang ooon a minute!” and paved the way for being healthy, and male. It’s bad enough that we have to sit through classrooms and read newspapers that tell us that Men fight, Men create wars, Men hate, blah blah. That’s not what men do. That’s what they want us to think we do.
Get rid of the man cave if you already have it. The only thing that will do is isolate you from anyone that’s close. Open up, stop running away. Emotions are powerful. Let the world see that you have them too. And you’d be more a man than those that do not. Because in reality, they are only hiding from themselves.