• August 10th, 2020

Man enough or human enough

I have realised that it is exhausting trying to be man enough. 
As boys growing up, we were and still are told the kind of man we should grow up to be and for most boys, all we want is to be accepted and liked by the other boys. 

That acceptance meant we have to acquire this disgusting view of the feminine.
Most boys and grown men have been given a script to perform. 
The script says that men are strong and girls are weak. 

This has been subconsciously communicated to hundreds and millions of boys and girls all over the world. 
This is wrong and should come to a stop. 

Men shouldn’t have the desire to fit into the broken definition of masculinity, because we shouldn’t just want to be good men but good humans.

I believe the only way this can happen is if men learn to not only embrace the qualities but to be willing to stand up, to champion and learn from the women and girls in our lives. 
This is not to say that everything we have learned is toxic, I am not saying that there’s everything wrong with you or me, and it also doesn’t mean that we should stop being men. 

What we need as humans are balanced and the only way things will change is if we take a really honest look at the scripts that have been passed down to us from generation to generation and the roles that we men choose to take on in our everyday lives.

Today a lot of men are afraid to reach out and ask assist from another man because of pride and ego plus the narrative we have been taught from our younger days. 

We all believe that men have to do it all on their own. I know a man who’d rather die than tell another man that he is hurting, but it’s not because we are the strong and silent types, it’s not. 

A lot of us men and growing boys are good at making friends and talking, just not about anything real.
If it’s not about work or sports, politics, games or women we have no problem sharing our opinions, but if it’s about our insecurities or our struggles, our fear of failure then it’s almost as if we become paralysed. 
I believe some of the ways to practice breaking free from this behaviour is by creating experiences that force us to be vulnerable.

If a man is experiencing shame in his life, practice diving straight into it no matter how scary it is, even if it is in the public, because in doing so you can take away its power and your display of vulnerability can in some cases permit other men to do the same.

Publicly, most men are playing their role rejecting the feminine, but secretly most of them are waiting for permission to express themselves, to be seen, to be heard and all they need is another man holding them accountable and creating a safe space for him to feel.

Growing up we tend to challenge each other, in becoming the toughest and strongest, the bravest man we can all be and for many of us, myself included our identities are wrapped up and whether or not our identities at the end of the day, we feel like we are “Man Enough”.

What men should do is use the same qualities that make them feel manly, go deeper into yourself, your strength, your bravery and your toughness, and redefine what those mean and use them to explore our hearts.

Are you strong enough to be sensitive, to cry whether you are hurting or happy, or even when it makes feel weak? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life? To hear their ideas and solutions, to hold their anguish and believe them, even if it’s against you.

Will you be man enough to stand up to other men when you hear the locker room talk? When you hear stories of sexual harassment? When you hear boys talking about grabbing ass or getting high or getting drunk? Will, you be man enough to stand up and do something that so that one day we don’t have to live in a world where women have to risk everything and come forward to say the words “me too”. Are you man enough to just shut up and listen?

I believe that as men and growing boys, it’s time to see past our privilege and recognise that we’re not just part of a problem but we are the problem.

*John Ikondja is a second year student at Triumphant College studying Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently on an apprenticeship programme with the NBC. The opinions expressed herein are purely his.

Staff Reporter
2019-10-11 08:01:49 | 9 months ago

Be the first to post a comment...