Monday, May 9, 2011

Being A Man 101?

As you may have seen here I've got an ongoing series of posts centred around the different components one may (or may not) include into their working definition of being a man. In this series I've talked about genital arrangement, anger, health, and all sorts of things and how they relate to men. But I think the time has come for a formal put together of these thoughts and ideas. A place where one can get at least a basic idea on the beginnings of being a man (whether you are looking for some idea on how to be a man yourself or are just reading about being a man).

I'm not 100% sure on how to do this and I'm betting I'll change it over time as I rethink things and get input from other people. Yes I said input from other people. I don't think I have the absolute authority on what it means to be a man but per my goal here I do think I can start things off.

So what's being a man all about? Well for me there is one thing that is a must in being a man or you will be doomed to fail: individuality.

Individuality (from
–noun, plural -ties.
the particular character, or aggregate of qualities, that distinguishes one person or thing from others; sole and personal nature: a person of marked individuality.
individualities, individual characteristics.
a person or thing of individual or distinctive character.
Now to be clear the important part isn't that one person's idea of being a man is distinguishable from another person's, in fact a lack of distinction isn't really a problem. The important part is that a given person have the freedom to develop their own concepts and ideas about being a man on their own terms and not be expected to conform to what some outside force tells them what being a man is about. So its not so much about individual conclusion but rather individual discovery. Which leads me to one of my central reasons for making this document.

When you think about being a man and the things that it entails do you include them because they matter to you or because you think others think they matter and therefore you think they matter for the sake of having others verify that you are a man?
You see for far too long the definition of a man has been determined by society, the ruling class, a man's friends/partners/etc..., seemingly everyone except the man himself. This is destructive behaviour and I despise it.

Trying to impose your idea of what a man is on others is a sure fire recipe for trouble.

Example: Shaming men for not leaping into action to help a woman just because he's a man and she's a woman. Yes there are people in this world that think those of us who rolled an XY and/or identify as men somehow owe it to those who rolled an XX and/or those who identify as women to help them simply because of what we rolled and/or how we identify.

The harm in that you ask? Well have you stopped to consider that said man might not be able to give the expected assistance? Or maybe he just doesn't want to. And even beyond that what exactly makes one think that they have hold sway over whether or not that other person qualifies as a man? Sure you may think that person is less of a man but that doesn't actually make them less of a man for not living up to your standards.

This freedom to be an individual is something that ripples throughout most of what I'm thinking about when it comes to being a man. However I think its going to take more than just stating this and calling it a day. Its going to take effort, its going to take thinking, its going to take time. But most of all its going to take discussion.

Yes I know it sounds almost contradictory to ask for input from others on a concept that should be left up to individual men. But in order for this to work we all have to get on the same page and that is going to take discussion.

A particular topic you want to bring up? A component that you think should be included? Don't be scared to bring up things I've talked about in other posts (you can look at the link at the top of this post to my "Working on Being a Man Series" for starting points) or bring up things from other places that I haven't mentioned yet (but please drop a link if you have one).

Again my goal here isn't to build up a definitive guide on how to be a man. Rather I want to have some basic starting points on how to be a man and a bit of guidance on common topics (like emotions, sex, abuse, etc...).

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