In Australia, we have an unfortunate stereotype of ‘The Blokey Bloke‘, which sways cultural expectations of masculinity away from what I would see as a sensible ideal, and into a sad, restrictive, closed-minded caricature of what a man could and should be.
What the hell does it mean to be a man?
On the surface, it might seem to be easy to answer.
‘Tough, independant, vigilant, strong’ ?
But these are only facades of being a man: deliberately designed to appear as the most masculine, or rather, the least feminine.
I’ve tried discussing the idea of ‘what it is to be a man’ with others, and even the idea that the construct of masculinity as being something ‘achieved by a revolt from woman, and confirmed only by other men’ but only ever really got shrugs back.
It seems ironic that ‘blokey blokes’ are either conciously or subconciously fearful of appearing in any way feminine, as their only definition of masculinity is guided as being the exact opposite of femininity.
What makes this irony all the more sad is that
on the surface, the key traits of masculinity are strength & invunerability…
But those who try the hardest to be seen as masculine are typically those with the deepest fears of being seen to have any feminine traits.
Let me clarify: I don’t simply mean personality traits which are derived from instinct or from the act of child-baring, such as desires of nesting & nurture etc, (that may hold some weight of logic)
The feminine traits these men often hide from are typically human constructs of feminine ideals, such as emotional articulation, an interest in fine art, intellectualism, sensitivity & empathy… Christ, even the colour pink or an interest in well designed clothes!
I’ve long since held the belief that a ‘greater man’ would be one who could recognise those fears in society and in himself, and overcome them. To be and enjoy being himself, regardless of the socio-sexual expectations of others.
What do you think?
What the hell is
‘being a man’ to you?
Also, do you find that your ideals of masculinity are swayed by popular media or even by society in general?
I’d really like to hear people’s thoughts on this.