The Myth of the Real Man

I’ve read a lot about masculinity lately. Some harkening back to an antiquated notion of “men being men” and reclaiming the masculinity we’ve somehow surrendered to an oppressive, feminizing society. Some encouraging men to bury any hint of a macho ethos and become complete and total egalitarian partners with their spouse in both work and family life because gender is a social construct foisted upon us by the patriarchy. Both of these ideas are actually hurting their intended target: actual living, breathing men.

Any ideal manhood is damaging to all men.

Men, don’t let anyone tell you what it means to be a man. Whether someone is trying to goad you into macho absurdity or guilt you into a genderless utopia, don’t listen. Insecurity is an amazing way to sell books. In fact, male insecurity is probably one of the greatest economic engines this world has ever seen. (You could probably say the same about women… exploiting insecurity is a great way to make money)

Men, we don’t need to “be men”, we need to be ourselves. The authentic, true person that lives somewhere inside of us in a fragile state that we desperately try to protect and hide with our false expressions of personality. There is courage in being who you were created to be. Fix a car, change a diaper, cry during a romantic comedy, put someone in a headlock, sing to your children, do something dangerous, romance your wife, share your feelings, do whatever it is that helps you be who you are.

Somewhere in this quest to be men, we’ve forgotten that we’re human beings.

Originally published at

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