“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
― Gloria Steinem
Before you read any further, read this: Vitotow’s (1981) “Ten commandments for Manhood”
- Thou shalt not be weak, nor have a weak God before you.
- Thou shalt not fail thyself, nor fail as thy father before thee.
- Thou shalt not keep holy any day that denies thy work.
- Thou shalt not love in ways that are intimate and sharing.
- Thou shalt not cry, complain or feel lonely.
- Thou shalt not commit public anger.
- Thou shalt not be uncertain or ambivalent.
- Thou shalt not be dependent.
- Thou shalt not acknowledge thy depth of thy limitations.
- Thou shalt do unto men before they do unto you.
Someone once said to me that it’s against the law of nature for a man to cry. Is it also against the law of nature for a man to love? A woman and a man should be allowed to love in all ways that brings happiness to them and not engage in a one sided affair where the woman is left thinking and asking questions like “does he really love me?”
I have been working on the concept of masculinity for quite some time, and the question “What happens when a Man is not a Man?” came into thought. Masculinity is the trait of behaving in ways considered typical and appropriate for men. My question lies in the notion that when a man has failed to fulfil all these prescribed expectations where do we place him? Where do we place a man who cannot father a child? Where do we place a man that has been dependent on his wife? Or a man who is out of job or even underpaid? Where do we place a man who is uncomfortable in his prescribed clothing? Where do we place a man who decides to carry a purse or finds himself walking in feminine ways? It is high time the world knew that the concept of uniform masculinity and sexuality is no longer held to be fixed.
Every day, we keep reading ‘Dos and don’ts for men’. ‘What not to do as a man’. ‘How to behave as a man’. ‘What it takes to be a man’. ‘How to get this masculine look’. And I’d say this, it’s killing our society. Every day the rate of domestic violence keeps increasing, and then we are left thinking what happened to that sweet Man/boy we used to know. All these prescribed expectations are killing the society and transforming men into monsters, forcing them to demand for respect where it’s supposed to be earned.
Sometimes ago, I watched a religious message that kept emphasizing that the man is the provider of his home, and he mustn’t depend on his wife if not he loses his crown. Does that mean that a man has lost every right of being the head if he is retrenched from his place of work or encounters some unforeseen circumstances? I feel that this has even made young children in such homes disregard their fathers. I also feel that this is one of the reasons why some of these men out of anger and frustration begin to oppress their wives into respecting them even when the respect is strongly on ground; they begin to feel insecure and gently and gradually destroy their homes because of certain prescribed masculine roles. It’s however sad that although I feel the concept of masculinity should be a form of brotherhood; it has failed to cater for those described as ‘challenged’.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I always reply!
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