Being a Man


Man, man, man!!!

 

Man, the word that contains only three characters, yet it says so much. Being a man, is no easy task.

Man Cues

To be a man in America you’re required to follow certain protocol and guidelines. You must be heterosexual (by whose definition?); you need to be macho, you can’t like comedic dramas with a female leading role, and you must embrace patriarchy as a God given right (who’s God?). To be a man you also need to be aggressive, you would never be wrong (that would be absurd), and you must “know” that as a man you should be master of your domain. The previous statements are some of the ill-preconceived notions of what it means to be a man. Amongst my own circle, I notice we use man cues all the time. In my circle you’ll hear people say “stop acting like a girl” when someone may be passionate about an issue or “you don’t meet the deep-voice requirements, to qualify as a man” when referring to someone with a soft voice. All jokes aside, comments likes these are deeply rooted into male groups and showcase how manhood may be identified. Popular TV shows like Manswers or The Man Show display images of men putting down women and portray the extremities of manhood (i.e. drinking, taking steroids, and sexual seekers). Media’s popular definition of a man cannot be heralded as reality. A man defines himself because men are individuals and everyone is different.

Being a Man

A big part of being a man in America is the role patriarchy plays. Patriarchy is the big elephant in the room men don’t often bring up (not counting me) in conversions. I wouldn’t blame us, why would someone want to discuss their privilege and the ways we can dismantle a male privileged system? Male privilege is everywhere you go; it’s in families, schools, and the workplace just to name a few. Male privilege tells us as a society who will be successful. A man who fits or portrays the model of a “traditional” American man will benefit from privilege, may whether it’s by earning a higher salary, receiving better service in a store, and/or by dominating a discussion.

As a man, it’s hard to digest how much we bank off male privilege. Consider the following: men make more money than women dollar for dollar (fact),and it is increasingly difficult for women to populate careers that are usually associated as a predominately male; some examples include: CEO’s, Presidents, and Police Chiefs. The glass ceiling is still very thick, and “success” today should be measured by the strides men and women make on an equal level.

Being a man in society is a privilege, a privilege that we are socialized in, and we accept it without knowing it, it can manifest in the workplace or the classroom. Men can sometimes be downright rude. Some men feel they have the right to speak over others and that their opinion is fact (that’s me). I am notorious for talking over people, I can’t help it; I’ve been socialized to think that it’s normal. All of the latter is done because we are socialized to believe that we come first.

What’s next?

We should use our male privilege to make change. We should use our privilege to push for equality in the workplace, in schools, and in our social spheres. Imagine a society where men and women can work together; hopefully this doesn’t sound like a world peace assessment (in practice, world peace will never happen…joke). Being aware of male privilege is the first step to making social change, and the second step is sharing the information with others. Be the example and stand up for equality (it takes work, trust me, I’m still working on it).

 

Jafahri Oler

“Fall seven times, standup eight”

-Japanese Proverb

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