I was recently asked to write something for the men because apparently there are way too many articles for women out there (and to be honest I agree, one only has to look at the shelves in your local corner shop to see how female magazines dominate the market ) . As I am all about inclusivity (and yes inclusivity is a word) I looked into my secret archive and found this article that will hopefully challenge our perceptions of manhood and encourage every man (and maybe even women because remember I’m a vanguard for inclusivity) to be better than he (or she) was yesterday.
I also hope that you all got the subtle Eminem reference in the title. Remember his famous line, “will the real slim shady please stand up”? Yes? No? Ok never mind, lets move on to the article. This one is for the boys.
P.S I wrote this article last year and so the sentence “I stumbled on an article last week” is no longer true but you will still the gist.
I stumbled across an article last week that discussed an extremely controversial subject. It was an exposé on real men and I must admit it left me quite perplexed. I mulled over the article (written by a married woman for those that are curious) and I began to ask myself when did it become acceptable to apply the term “real” to perceptions of manhood? I re-read the article to make sure I had grasped the crux of her arguments but still thought it odd that the word “real” was being used continuously to quantify manhood. It’s not that I wasn’t familiar with the expression “real men”, I just thought it was reserved for soap opera like EastEnders or Love & Hip Hop (yes I am aware that Love & Hip Hop is not a soap opera but it’s so dramatic that it might as well be). Her words forced me to conduct research of my own and so I asked some of my family and friends this highly coveted question, “what is a real man?”
Someone that can perform manly duites e.g provide for their family. Take up responsibility without compromising or having to back out. Responsibilities :provide for their kids and look after them and also their woman.
A real man is one who shows respect to his mother and father. A real man loves his children and wife and stays through thick and thin. A real man always protects his woman and looks after her.
Alright, I would define a real man as having the potential to take care of their family, no matter how small the salary.
My definition of a real man is someone who can always provide.
A real man loves the Lord more than anything and that would filter into loving his wife.
I’m not a fan of the term real man at all. For me it is a way for females to make men feel like they aren’t living up to their duties that supposedly come with being a man.
These definitions were interesting because all of them, except for the last definition, place emphasis on a real man’s ability to provide for his wife and his kids. However, let’s consider a situation where a man is unable to provide for his family as a result of job loss or disability would he be considered a lesser man? I hope not.
Real can be defined as one of the following:
(a) actually existing as a thing or occurring
.(b) not an imitation or artificial; genuine true or actual
This is where my conflict with the phrase real men lies. The definition clearly states that “real” means actually existing. Therefore, every man is real because every man actually exists. Moreover, if we can class certain men as “real” then by default there are men that are ‘fake’ , which would lead to another issue of how to identify a fake man. Furthermore, the phrase real man implies that there are real women, which in itself is quite absurd.
The real men theory does not make any sense, it simply dehumanises those men who unintentionally fail to live up to societal standards or whose efforts are not appreciated. There was a particular scenario within the article where a married man couldn’t afford to pay his share of the bills for that month and looked to his wife for a loan. The writer commented that a real man would not have to ask his wife for the money as he should have his own, being the head and provider of the house. This scenario proves how we have twisted the phrase to the extent that a man feels that he can no longer depend on his family, for fear that he will not be considered a real man. The phrase has made it possible for woman to keep imposing unrealistic burdens on men. I have heard women define a real man as one who buys her bundles of Brazilian weave (such a woman is a Blackberry Babe, so men beware. If you do not know what a Blackberry Babe is , I would suggest Google ). Surely, we have taken this notion too far.
Certainly there are different calibres of men, as there are different calibres of women but the use of the word “real” is insensitive to those who through no fault of their own cannot (at the moment) live up to certain standards . Every man is real – some men are crap (lol) but every man is real.
Let’s raise our glasses to the men who are working hard to provide. Their struggle doesn’t mean they have fallen short, it just means they are not quite there yet. I would argue that the test of manhood is perseverance and love and not our superficial notions of what it means to be a “real” man. So next time I ask the real men to stand up, I want all of you on your feet except of course if you are crap. If you are crap then just sit down!
Love Cris x
P. S.S I think replacing “real” with “good” is far more accurate.