On Men

What is a man?

I am not thinking men in the sense of sex organs. I am thinking about how people perceive men are or should be as they act as members of society.

I should preface this entry with my own bias on the matter of gender. Probably my number one pet peeve is when a person states “all women do/are/like/hate certain thing” or “all men do/are/like/hate certain thing.” Men and women are humans and as humans have likes and dislikes based on a whole range of things including their various experiences and upbringing. Nothing is true of all men or all women, in my general opinion.

In the end, my opinion of men is shaped largely by experience.

The first man in my life was my father. My father was someone I would describe as an intellectual. Though he enjoyed watching basketball, he did not enjoy playing sports. In fact, he didn’t really enjoy any physical activity. The idea of taking a stroll around the block was foreign to him. He preferred to sit and enjoy a fine wine and read or discuss politics. My father was also very sensitive. He cried easily and his feelings could be hurt. And he was not ashamed of it. And growing up I never thought anything of a man crying. My mother was not a crier, so in my worldview women were strong and didn’t show much emotion and men were sensitive.

As I got older I realized that this was not the normal portrayal of men. However, already having experienced a man who was contrary to media’s stereotype allowed me to understand immediately it was wrong. The stereotype is of course that men don’t cry, that they are strong and show little emotion. They love to shoot hoops and get dirty. My dad was none of these things and therefore the stereotype had to be incomplete and wrong.

The other influential man in shaping my view of men, is my own husband. He like my father is sensitive. But he is fine with physical activity and will stroll or hike with me. However, he is also able to help me with clothing choices as he is good with color and texture. He is an artist, you see. He enjoys having flowers at our home because he finds them pleasing to look at and smell. He enjoys beauty.

To some they may say “ that is not manly” to be like my father or husband. But in my mind, being able to be who you are. To be strong enough to be comfortable with crying or loving flowers is what it means to be a man.

A man is someone who takes care of his family. Not necessarily by being the bread winner but possibly by being the one who gets dinner on the table.

Real men are comfortable with themselves and aren’t afraid to show it to the world.

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