Have you ever been asked this question?
Depending on who is asking it and how it’s being delivered it could be loaded with pressure, judgement and a dig at your masculinity.
Or, it could have a more gentle tone of curiosity and reflection, which is my aim here!
When a bloke enters a counselling room he changes! Hey, that’s some powerful room!
His decision to seek a better understanding of himself is also the first step of changing the way he sees his masculinity.
This comes with a dilemma and the sorting through some important questions:
- Am I supposed to uphold the role of providing and protecting my tribe?
- Is it that I need to always be brave and strong? Even when I’m tired, scared and confused?
- Do I show my emotions or stay stoic and silent?
- Isn’t being a hard worker enough to prove my manhood?
- Isn’t being a good mate enough?
Big questions, neither of which has a simple answer. Yet they go to the very core of defining what it means to be a man.
The meaning of masculinity
In a recent article that appeared on The Good Men Project website the author wrote about how he conducted a survey of 8th Graders in the US.
He asked them to complete the sentence ‘Being a man to me means…’.
Here are some of the responses:
Themes of protection, providing, strength, bravery and courage stand out in these mini definitions of manhood.
There are also many ‘being’ or ‘doing’ statements. Most of which are important and useful.
However, maybe unsurprisingly there’s not much that describes the emotional world of men.