Today I saw three media outlets discussing different ways men chose to be manly.
There was this one about the young NFL player who recently left the league to heal from the trauma caused by an abusive teammate. While there was much that I didn’t agree with in the article, I also appreciated that the author called out some of the dangerous messages boys and men get about what it means to be a man. He criticizes the idolization of the alpha male and hyper-competition. I’d add on that both these things really mean dominating, overpowering and oppressing an opponent and/or peer (as was the case in this situation). I’d also say that the football player who was inevitably traumatized by the abuse he endured was the stronger person when he decided to step out of the situation and take care of himself. I mean according to this article, there’s already been tons of backlash against this guy and he’s dealing with that now. That can’t be easy. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of pressure to “man up” and not “be a wuss.” Women experience this pressure to some extent but not nearly as much as men do. I have been called names when I’ve gone against the norm and I can tell you that the times I willed myself not to succumb to my friends’ taunting required a lot more strength than the times I gave into their pressure. Neither experience is easy – and fortunately, I’ve never experienced pressure to do anything that bad. But still. It’s always hard to go against the crowd or to be put in a position where you feel pressured or forced to do something you don’t want to do. And I could see myself caving yet again, depending upon the circumstances. So when are we going to see men being encouraged to be truly strong and show their true feelings and true selves?
Here’s another example – also about football players but totally different and refreshing. These boys totally rock and I hope they stay so kind. They’re much stronger than anyone who chooses to bully or cause pain in another person.
And finally this example. It was circulating more about 9 months ago but here it is, still just as powerful and wonderful as ever.
And there are three different takes on reshaping the values our society puts on men.