The definition of the “modern man”, where is it leading?
Let’s face it, the way in which we define what it is to be a man has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. While we have made enormous strides in acknowledging and decreasing the misogyny and privilege’s that was established and perpetuated by earlier generations, we have entered an age where the definition of masculinity is being redefined, and as a result…constantly questioned.
Some would argue that being a man is no longer an uncontrollable matter of circumstance, but a choice, and their right. In fact, that has always been the case. Yes, it is true that past generations had little tolerance for those who may have been born a male but felt and identified as something different. In addition, society placed a great deal of pressure on men to be ‘more manly’ in order to fit some pre-established mold of how a man should look, behave and feel.
The fact is males have always had a choice in how they defined themselves as a man, and now more than ever, it is crucial that men do so. Gone are the days when men had to engage in certain lifestyles, activities, or beliefs to be considered manly. But it is just as important that today’s ‘man’ define himself (his standards, values and principles) in this ever-evolving, more tolerant modern age.
One should not have to apologize for how they identify. Neither should a man.
Let’s take a moment to make one thing clear. This article is speaking to those who embrace and are proud to be men…and there is nothing wrong with that. Contrary to what some people think; being proud to be of a certain gender, does not automatically mean that you think lesser of those who have chosen to change their original birth gender or to not identify with either gender designation at all. Like we mentioned earlier, everyone has the right to choose; and at Dapper Effects, we honor and RESPECT that right.
But what does that mean for those who are comfortable calling themselves a man and being a ‘man’? At this time, the playing field continues to be leveled for strong, independent women. It acknowledges the struggles of the LGBTQ community and celebrates the diversity and legitimacy of the various races and cultures that make up the America diaspora. Yet, it’s still can sometimes be viewed as disrespectful when a man identifies proudly as a man. That, being ‘manly’ is disrespectful. Although the feeling is palpable and we can definitely relate, the fact is this notion is just not true. It is more than ok to be proud to be a man. It’s just not cool to be one of those elitist, entitled, racist, condescending, conceded, bigoted stereotypical Neanderthal type of men. Honestly, it never was.
How should we (as a culture) define modern masculinity?
So, that brings us back to the question at hand. How should today’s society define masculinity? What does it mean to be a man in modern times? Well, let us start with what we did wrong in the past. The values, standards and principles men were proud to strive for and possess lead often lead to many thinking they were different than women and others; and in the worst cases, thinking they were better. However, most of the qualities that make up a strong, positive man are the same for any individual, regardless of how they identify (or do not identify) themselves. Besides, it is impossible to become a ‘good man’ without first being a good person, right?
At Dapper Effects, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. This topic is one that will take a lot of dialog, understanding, empathy, active listening, and introspection before we can comfortably say that a man in today’s world should be this, or that. But we are NOT SCARED to ask these questions and start the conversation. With that being said, we think the folks over at TheManual.com have a great place to start with “Why you should strive to be a Modern-Day Renaissance Man” article written by Steven John.
In this well thought-out piece, John defines being a Renaissance Man as:
“a person with genuine competence in and understanding of multiple different fields, all of which complement one another to make him a more talented and productive person. A true Renaissance man will never claim he can accomplish everything, but he will accomplish anything to which he commits his time and energy. In other words, he tries his damnedest.”
So, while we agree 100% with this perspective, we don’t believe that this way-of-being is exclusive to any one type of man but should be the goal of all men worldwide. This, along with a general respect for life and individuality; and a positive outlook on life, society, and diversity will help us define masculinity and what it is to be a man for all future generations to come.