The Voice


The Voice


The Voice

What does it mean to ‘be a man?’

I was mindlessly browsing Twitter the other day, and I saw a tweet that my one friend retweeted. When I clicked on the picture of a Ted Talk video, I was expecting some weird video talking about the health benefits of marijuana or the reasons why we should take less selfies.

Instead, I watched a video clip of a man who was tall, in perfect shape, had long hair that was perfectly combed in place, wearing an outfit that fit his aesthetic perfectly. He was the ultimate alpha male, or so it seemed. After the first few seconds of the clip, I realized what the Ted Talk was about: what it takes to truly be a man.

From the time we are young children and able to form thoughts, beliefs, friendships, and intuition, as men we have it shoved down our throats to protect our masculinity at all costs.

If someone looks weak, then show him who the alpha male is. If there is an attractive girl that you want to get to know better, show her how much of a man you are by being popular and cold-hearted. And God forbid if someone ever threatens your masculinity violence is your only option.
These are the things which we are taught to hold true at such a young age, and then it is no wonder why we grow up to be cold, violent, sexist, homophobic, and overly alpha-male.

Not every man is the same, but not every man is a good man either. We hide behind our masculinity like we are holding ourselves hostage within a glass box. We can see the situations which present themselves for us to show “weakness”, but we are too trapped to break free of what so many of us believe.

The speaker of the Ted Talk, Justin Baldoni, decided that he was “done trying to be man enough”. And he is challenging us, as a man who grew up with friends just the same as us, to break through our blindness of masculinity and decide what it actually means to “be a man”.

Showing weakness, crying, portraying emotions, singing and dancing, wearing fashionable clothes, treating women right- these are what we seem to be so afraid of doing. And when one of us breaks into these unexplored regions of the human psyche and action, then he is weird for doing so.

In a blunt term, if a man decides to shed his universal masculinity for a personal ideal, that manliness is lost. But that is what we tell ourselves is the case.
We preach about courage and bravery, but at what cost does that façade of bravery come? This idea, as we have taught ourselves to believe is true, is in fact completely false.

Bravery is treating humans with kindness regardless of age, race, or skin color. Courage is helping someone find their way or showing what we truly are inside. Manliness is breaking the norms of masculinity and finding our own way through life, as a kinder, more gentle, loving version of what we so greatly believe we are as men.

I’m tired of being a man. I’m tired of feeling like my masculinity is like a cancer, ready to take my life away from me at the slightest mistake. I want to show every man that I know what it takes to be masculine.

When I meet someone struggling with sadness, I do not want us as men to show them how to be “a man”. I want to show them hope and love. When I meet someone different than me, I want us as men to find acceptance and understanding. When I am threatened, I want us as men to stand up to hatred with compassion and kindness.

I know that I am tired of being held back by what I was told to believe my whole life by society, and now know that I am man enough to fight back.

Sabin is a sophomore Mass Communications major and a Op/Ed Columnist for The Voice.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sabin Laskoski, Author

Comments (0)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *