"Manhood is a learned behavior" - a phrase I mutter a lot. Taking inventory of my 38 years of living, I can honestly say that I am only the man I am today because of my teachers - I give approbation to the great men who have taught me (and still teach me) how to be a man.
On the other hand, there is a mask of masculinity and a false sense of manhood that's circumventing around. But even with said, manhood is subjective.
Let's deal with some mask that men wear.
Lewis Howes, the author of The Mask of Masculinity, says that there is 9 masks that men wear: 1. The Stoic Mask, 2. The Athlete Mask 3. The Material Mask 4. The Sexual Mask 5. The Aggressive Mask 6. The Joker Mask 7. The Invincible Mask 8. The Know-It-All Mask 9. The Alpha Mask
The whole idea of a mask is to cover or conceal. Have you heard of the term "Never let them see you sweat"? There are men who will never let you see them sweat. They will never admit they're nervous and definitely will never say they're scared; because the mask of masculinity says "I have to appear one way when I'm really another. I have to cover and conceal my uncertainty just to appear poised and in control."
NEWS ALERT: There is a false sense of manhood!!
Boy stop crying! Ever heard that told to a boy after he's fallen? Man up! Ever heard that said to a male when he shows weakness or frailty? We are taught from a young age to bottle up our emotions. We are taught as men that we can't have times of weakness or even be delicate. When - as humans - we have the human propensity and the right to be emotional, fragile, weak, and damaged. We have been conditioned to perpetuate the false sense of manhood.
With that being said, I feel that manhood is subjective. For me, manhood was and continues to be defined by my biblical perspective. However, I allowed other people to shape my perspective of manhood through their lenses. One principle that's taught is that men are to provide, and for so long I understood that to mean men are to provide solely financially. Well, what about providing love, guidance, and affection? What about providing nurture? These are all attributes that men are capable of providing.
When I started taking inventory of the men in my life that I held in high regard, I noticed that they didn't hide behind the mask. They didn't have a false sense of manhood. They loved me, nurtured me, corrected me, and trained me. They trained by their actions. Everything I learned about how to be a man was by example. Not just by talking but by walk.
I truly believe manhood is a learned behavior. Watch a man and you'll see what he learned.
What's your definition of manhood and how could you challenge that perspective?
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Written by: Q. Edmonds