My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Man code part 2

I just wanted to clarify why I wrote up the satirical "man code" post.  I wrote it to reveal how ridiculous   some male behavior is in the pursuit of proving their manliness.  Not ALL "manly" behavior is ridiculous.  I would like to clarify that.  I don't think that getting pumped up about working out or sports is wrong or ridiculous.  I enjoy working out and sports as much as the next person.  Their is nothing wrong in the stereotypically "manly" activities in and of themselves.  While I would take issue with anyone that believes such activities define manhood, I do not condemn those activities in and of themselves.  Bonding with your fellow men over sports is perfectly acceptable.

The only thing I take issue with on this note is when certain activities are deemed as manly and others as anti-manly.  A guy does not HAVE to watch sports to be a man.  A guy does not have to have big muscles to be a man.  A guy does not have to drive a truck or a muscle car or motorcycle to be a man.  Likewise, a guy can dance, sing, cry, be a nerd, etc. etc. and still be a man.  None of the activities I have mentioned should make you more or less of a man.

Yet its clear this is the way our society judges men.  Just look at the movie Napoleon Dynamite.  Its clear that what makes the movie funny, is that the protagonist and his accomplices are not "manly", as our society defines it (Though to its credit, it makes fun of the jock living in the past as well).  They are unathletic, and socially deficient.  Napoleon had other talents in the movie, but even then those talents are seen as hilarious because they are not "manly" talents.  Its clear that our society rips men apart when they do not measure up to the "man code."

Growing up in Texas I personally struggled with this through most of my life.  I never felt like I measured up to the "man code."  My interests and passions did not align with what defined manliness.  As a result I grew up very unconfident and insecure about who I was.  I would not open up to most people because I was afraid that if they knew the real me, they would see me as "unmanly."

Luckily I have learned since then that manliness is not defined by how loud I grunt, or how far I can throw a football, or by how into sports I am.  Likewise I have learned that I can be a person of faith and still be a man.  I have learned that my principles are not a weakness, but a strength.

So in addition to the categorizing of activities is the behavioral aspect.  This is the worst part of the man code and is the part I rip on the most in my satire.  The belief that real men don't cry is just one part of it.  The rest closely aligns with the ridiculous notion that what makes you man is your sexual prowess.  The more innocent victims you can conquer, the more of a man you are.  The less caring for others you are, the more of a man you are.  Being sensitive to others needs is a sign of weakness that must be eliminated.

In this I would say that its far harder to do the right thing.  It takes someone with a lot of moral fortitude and confidence to stand up for what is right.  It takes nothing to go along with the crowd.  It takes nothing to give into pressure from your fellow "manly" peers.  It takes nothing to be undisciplined and unruly.

Yet somehow the easy way out is apparently the manly thing to do.  I guess that makes it easy then.  Cause then any guy can be a "Man" without really doing anything.  Then with the man code, anyone can be forced back into step that dares challenge the comfortable definition of manliness that our culture preaches.  Guys can feel superior for doing the easy weak cowardly thing...what a strange culture we live in.

So I wrote the satire to challenge both notions of manliness.  One, that some activities are somehow inherently more manly than others.  Second, that real men act like monkeys with no restraint, while only sensitive sissies would bother doing something for anyone else besides themselves.  I know that many men don't buy fully into the man code.  Yet many by into one or the other parts of it.  Both parts are damaging to guys and to society as a whole.  The first unnecessarily destroys the confidence of many guys simply because of their personal preference and skill set.  The second unnecessarily bolsters the confidence of many guys for doing the easy weak thing, thinking only about themselves and their needs.  I challenge all the guys out there to think critically about what actually matters in life, and to redefine manliness in respect to that.

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