One of men’s biggest weaknesses is going off halfcocked. When I started to formulate the basics of this post, some of my points were based on snippets I gathered from social media about the new Gillette ad.
The media, and some of my social media pals cried foul, and I assumed the ad was another attempt at stripping men of their masculinity. Then I watched the ad in preparation for this blog post.
To clear the air, I do not use Gillette products. Not because I don’t like them, but because there are less expensive alternatives. I do not need a razor blade with twenty-seven blades, and a rubber strip that pulls the skin tight for a good shave. However, I do agree with the premise of the ad. It’s titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” Not “Toxic Masculinity” as portrayed in the media, both broadcast and social.
I do not disagree with the premise of the ad, we, as men, can be so much better.
I am a man trapped between two extremes. On one side is a life time of friends, coworkers, colleagues, and strangers, who believe being a man is grunting, lewd jokes, objectifying woman, and buying big toys to compensate for their other shortcomings. On the other side, what used to be a smaller percentage, but now a growing group of men, who want us to quit being men all together. The feminization of men.
I don’t agree with either.
Being a man is a proud thing. To me, masculinity is more than hair on your face, or big muscles, or having an object on your arm for other men to admire, but you do not respect. It’s not about appearance, or status, or things. Being a man is a frame of mind. It’s being comfortable enough with your masculinity, that you don’t feel the need to prove it to those around you.
I am not defined by my things, they are merely an extension of my life. I do not lift weights to show you how masculine I am, I do so for abetter life. I share my life with a beautiful woman, not because she is aprize, but because I got lucky (she is a prize, but not in a chauvinistic way).
I do not have to be stripped of my masculinity to be respectful of woman and their rightful place in this world. I do not need to get in touch with my feminine side to know how to feel. I do not need to forgo those things that make me a man, to show compassion.
It is alright to feel confident in who I am, in what I have accomplished. It is alright to feel pride in my abilities, to not ask for directions.
I cry, but I don’t wear those tears on my sleeve. I hurt, but I do not need to bear my emotions to the world. I suffer injury and illness, but that does not mean I have to wear a gown.
I am proud to be man.
However, I do not understand war. I loathe violence. Against any human. I was taught not to strike any human being, including a woman. Sports are a passing interest, but not my passion. I understand hunting but feel no need to kill. I walk away when another man tells crude or vulgar jokes. I feel no need to demean any human being, especially woman.
A woman is my equal, my partner, my friend. Relationships are about sharing. Sharing the good, sharing the bad, sharing the mundane. Raising a family is about dividing and conquering. I shingle the roof because I am strong, she kisses booboos because it is in her nature to nurture. If she wants to join me on the roof, so be it. It will not diminish that which makes me man.
I do not wear a bun. I loathe the color pink. Never have I wore makeup, and my pierced ear was just the one. It is okay to be a man. It is okay to be masculine. I do not want to be feminized. I do not want to be sensitized. I do not want to get in touch with my inner anything.
I am man!