Being a Man - When You're Not!
by: Talia Goldberg
I have been writing blogs for over a year about being a woman and how that affects what I do and say. I recently thought maybe I should write about being a man instead. There's only one problem, I am not a man! I did grow up with boys. I have two brothers and no sisters. I played soccer with my brothers but they wouldn't play dolls with me. But that doesn’t mean I understand what it’s like to be a boy, and definitely not a man.
So I went out and asked some of my guy friends if they could describe to me what being a man is to them. The answers I got had a lot to do with growing up; being expected to be protectors, to be strong, to not show emotions even though some of them are emotional guys. Additionally, they find themselves wanting to be able to fix everything even though they could ask for help instead of doing everything by themselves. The male self image is a muscular guy, a macho man with the expectation to be dominant and to face scary fears like spiders, or the cold without hesitation.
To complete my research, I asked some of my girl friends what their definition of being a man would be. The first answer I got was that being a man meant taking responsibility. Men must take accountability for their actions, be mature, and be secure. Men must also possess the ability to value and respect the women in their life.
When I thought about how I would answer this question, none of these answers would have been mine. The first word that came to me was, knowing how to listen, being respectful and grateful. I guess one of the biggest problems is that we all have a hard time not conforming to what we are expected to be and how we are expected to react. If we aren’t concentrating on this problem then we can find ourselves in a situation where we are fooling ourselves due to fear.
I find it strange how different we are from each other's points of view about what it is to be a man.I think it’s important as a woman to encourage my male friends to be themselves and not take on an artificial image. I also believe that equality means accepting each other as we are without having to be what the other wants us to be.