And I mean for everyone. What man of you that was once a boy didn't have to navigate the inherent violence of it all, from peers and adults alike, being threatened and taunted and beaten and accosted, sometimes in the shadows and in alleys and in locker rooms, and sometimes according "to the rules" and in classes like gym? How many times did you go to school with that sinking feeling in your stomach; how many times did you embrace the violence in order to conquer it, only to stir up more of the terror in spades? "Pussy". "Faggot". "Bitch". Your friend's mom pulling chewing gum out of your hair with peanut butter. Your new winter coat covered in phlegm. Hiding the bruises from your parents lest they realize something's wrong and are driven to "address" the situation with school authorities, thereby making it worse. Realizing that you've done your own share of dishing it out, because you're only 12, 13, 14 years old and you have no idea yet as to what sort of means it takes to be a man, much less the sort of man you'll be happy becoming.
When I see my social media feed overwhelmed with an innumerable "me too", and the imploring queries as to how we can better deal with these issues, I’m reminded of those deeper cracks within the cultures of manhood, how it chews up and spits out and victimizes boys into something resembling men and then expects them to behave with composure and honor; how the previous century most of us were born to dispensed of more lives in the atrocious meat grinder of war than the rest of recorded history's conflicts combined; how those wars are glorified, and those wasted lives sanctified as something manly, and honorable, and good; how women's lives would be considered peripheral to that fodder, the liberties "our boys" took with them being understandable, under the circumstances. Meanwhile our executive chief endeavors to emasculate football players, of all people, the irony made palpable by the temerity displayed by these primordial archetypes of physical manliness who would dare object to the emasculation and subjugation of their own peoples... As though that cause isn't something honorable?
Men. The prisons are teeming with them.
I'm confused. It's almost schizophrenic. And I've felt this way for years. And while navigating this human animal is terrifying, and belittling, and woeful, isn't it also necessary, and worthwhile, and good, and aren't we - men, and women, and nonbinary genders alike - up to the task? At the risk of sounding daft, we can put a man on the moon, but we can't make better men?