So ladies, we’ve heard this word “feminism” kicking around for awhile- at least most of us have. Ideas such as the equitable balance between men and women in a household. Equal pay for equal work. Even making history-sorry, I mean herstory- by nearly electing the first woman president this year (Oy! It still hurts to say “nearly.”). But really, for most of my lifetime, at least, since I can remember, women have played an increasingly dominant and powerful role in our society. The notion of feminism has edged away from what it once was, a radical idea that a woman could be treated the same way as a man, the term feminist now being an adjective many women are proud to plaster on their self-résumés. Despite the fact that we women climbing aboard the equality train, the group that seems to have lingered a tad too long on the quiet car and missed their stop, are men.
Let me ask you something, whether you are male or female: What does ‘being a man’ mean to you? Does it mean muscular, and toned? Or intelligent, and crisp? Does it mean washboard abs, or perfectly-gelled hair? Does it mean kind, humble, or athletic? Or, in most realities, is being a man your only source of happiness? The ways we define the roles men play in our lives widely varies among every person. And no way of defining that role is necessarily wrong. But often when I hear the words, “Man up!” or, “Show them who’s the man” all the way to, “Who wears the pants in the family?!” it makes me wonder what people really mean by that, especially now that the definitions of ‘being a man’ so greatly vary nowadays. Those phrases have always gone along the lines of needing men to become more tough, or to harden their outer shell. You see, I don’t believe the true measure of a man is how tough their proverbial shell of armor is that blocks their feelings and emotions from the rest of the world. Feelings and emotions simply don’t have gender roles. They are for everyone. I believe the first step to becoming a man is to let that shell of armor go, and that is unfortunately where some men fall short. This idea of ‘Manning up’ and sayings alike, are so ingrained in peoples’ heads, women included, that a man showing real emotion is almost unthinkable in society today. Because of these little knick-knack sayings, we have shaped not only the way men see themselves, but how women see men.
Earlier, I was talking about this new uprising of female power all over the world. A revolution, I guess you might call it. As women have been joining forces through this newfound fight for equality, some men seem to be utterly confused, as if they have gotten away with living in a 20th century euphoria, and have just been awakened by everything they though they knew, suddenly backwards. We are living in a world today unlike anyone would have ever imagined. Women, of all people, are fighting. Not with their fists, but with their words. Women are rolling up their sleeves and going to work! We are demanding equality. If that doesn’t go against everything we thought we knew since the beginning of time, then I don’t know what does. But remember, just 50 years ago, it was still an unspoken social policy that women should play this very delicate housewife role. Respect for women in the workplace, and respect for women in general is a new idea that many people, including women, are still uncomfortable with. So, does a ‘being a man’ mean having respect for women, to you? Does it mean not being afraid to share emotions and feelings? Does it mean having the will to stand up against people uncomfortable with change? This is yet another example of our rapidly diversifying world. Men and women are changing, in very different ways. Women are still fighting for the same rights men are granted, and most likely will be for quite a while. Men are changing their ‘measure of a man’, and what it means to be one. We have a lot of social construction to do, and we are just breaking ground. To me, the thrill of change is exhilarating, and I am lucky enough to be watching occur it all around me. So, let’s be apart of it! Let’s redefine what ‘manning up’ means! I challenge both men and women to speak up. In order to be a more perfect union, we need to be united under a more perfect union. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and let me know in the comments section below what you thought of this post, and what you are doing to defy the rigid gender norms cast upon our very world today. This is our country. We’ve been through the ringer, no doubt, but what we sometimes forget about going through the ringer, is that we come out of it.
~The Legally Brunette