I am Man, Hear Me Roar

Mas­culin­ity is over­rated

Augustman - - Moss Code -

AF­TER ENOUGH GULPS of my favourite so­cial lu­bri­cant one night, I de­cided to head down the rab­bit hole of arm­chair psy­cho-anal­y­sis and ask my brother what he thought it meant to be a man.

Ever the wiser of the two of us, he merely shrugged and said, “I al­ways thought of just be­ing hu­man first.”

The idea of mas­culin­ity is some­thing I used to strug­gle with. I’d seen the worst of male be­hav­iour ‒ do­mes­tic abuse, misog­yny, the plain be­lief that a man con­stantly needs to prove he’s bet­ter ‒ all be­fore I was 10. And like most chil­dren, I em­u­lated what I saw. A man needs to raise his voice to get his point across, a man needs to be­lit­tle oth­ers to re­mind them he’s ahead of them.

As an ado­les­cent male, I wasn’t ex­actly the nicest per­son around. I had the knack for find­ing peo­ple’s in­se­cu­ri­ties and high­light­ing them to oth­ers. I used slurs when I shouldn’t have, I be­lit­tled peo­ple when I shouldn’t have and, worst of all, I ex­cused my­self ev­ery day with “well, I was only teas­ing.”

Un­like the car­i­ca­turised bul­lies of me­dia, I was a skinny be­spec­ta­cled nerd and I had learnt from a young age that words cut much deeper than testos­terone-charged shov­ing on play­grounds.

I had some­thing to prove ‒ I was just as much of a man as any­one else. Let’s chalk it up to toxic mas­culin­ity, this in­nate urge to be “manly” and mis­un­der­stand man­li­ness as tow­er­ing above oth­ers.

As I grew older, and fur­ther re­moved from those neg­a­tive in­flu­ences of “toxic mas­culin­ity” I grew up with, the idea that “we’re all hu­mans” started to make more sense. It’s re­ally so sim­ple that the num­ber of out­liers out there who still be­lieve men are bet­ter than women as­tound me.

You see them all too of­ten on so­cial me­dia, they have their own fo­rums and they stand to per­pet­u­ate a slowly dy­ing myth that gen­der di­vides mat­ter. They’re the ones sit­ting at key­boards typ­ing ridicu­lous things like “Give me the per­mis­sion to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes.” for no other rea­son than to prove that they’re manly men.

So, what is a man then? Noth­ing more than what na­ture gave us in terms of phys­i­cal­ity. A mighty sen­si­tive crotch re­gion, a bet­ter abil­ity to gain mus­cle mass and the off-chance that we might grow fa­cial hair. We may be sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to be more prone to rage (no thanks, testos­terone) but us­ing that as an ex­cuse is like say­ing “Apolo­gies, I’ve an at­trac­tion to that woman. Ex­cuse me while I force my­self on her.” Oh wait, some men still use that ex­cuse.

The past two months have seen a high­pro­file rape case, an­other mass shoot­ing in the US and more out­liers of a gen­der di­vide rear­ing their heads with stupid com­ments on so­cial me­dia. And this is where my brother’s wis­dom comes into play ‒ at the heart of it all, we’re hu­mans first. Men need to stop be­liev­ing there’s an in­nate su­pe­ri­or­ity and in­vest­ing in a trope.

I al­ways thought of just be­ing hu­man first

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