I think it's harder for men to be men than it is for a woman to be a woman nowadays.
Disgruntled women have demonized masculinity and all its different facets, broadly sweeping over the qualities of manliness that are supposed to compliment and help society when channelled rightly.
Emphasis on rightly. No one's disputing a history of abuse here.
But a man asserting his desire for a woman is not inherently wrong. A man providing for his family and allowing his wife to raise decent humans is not inherently punishment. A man using his strength to assert his dominance over a situation is not inherently threatening, and any minor suggestion of the above motives are not all warranted a red light or being "triggered."
We have to rewrite the blame narrative that's being perpetuated. We have to teach little boys to identify the power they have within their limbs and their minds and to direct it with controlled intentionality. Meekness is power under control.
We have to identify the potential evil (men and women alike) we all have within ourselves to commit, and consciously insist against it.
It's never "they" that are all at fault. I, too, am capable of wronging the other side. In fact, I know that I have!
I am working at a particular school that has a particular motto intended to reinforce the values and conduct expected of its particular student body.
And that's all I'll say about the particulars. #confidential
By my second week I was dismayed to see some disciplinary measures taken upon a group of students. After being taunted for potentially not passing onto the next grade by one teacher, another faculty member referenced a boy and said, verbatim, "Nah, he's stupid. It's too late for him." My heart broke and I got angry. But I have no voice in that environment.
I had nothing to do for the next hour so I stood overlooking the class and furiously scribbled my stream of consciousness. I am no longer working in that classroom because my very presence was considered too much for these youths to handle (I wish I was exaggerating; talk about perpetuating the wrong narrative) so here I am blasting my thoughts into the webiverse.
My scribbles below.
“I am a young man.”
Why do you chant this? Do you think it’s because we’re afraid y’all will forget?
As if you could. You know VERY WELL what is between your legs.
Here at ____, you say this over and over with one loud voice in unison: I AM A YOUNG MAN.
You might think you know what it means. But are you certain about what it doesn’t mean?
“I am a young man” does not mean I am crass and use filthy language. It does not mean I forget to brush my hair or tuck in my shirt. Cause hey, I’m a young man.
It does not mean I holler and click my tongue at pretty ladies or play with their body in my imagination.
Being a young man doesn’t mean whistling during a test or constantly saying, “I don’t know.”
It does not mean acting tough. It does not mean fighting for your voice to count.
It does not mean you will be just like all the men, or some of the men, that have surrounded you your whole life.
It does not mean being small. “I am a young man” does not mean, “I am a small man.”
I am a young man does not mean I am a lazy man, all I do is play video games and smoke.
“I am a young man” is a whole universe of good.
Being a man means showing gentleness, even when your body and your word carries the power to dominate.
Being a man means fixing your brother’s tie instead of yanking his shorts down.
It means knowing you don’t have all the answers. It means asking for help. As a young man, you are not supposed to carry the world like you think a grown man should. It means reaching for the textbook and waiting until you’ve confidently found the answer, instead of slouching on your wrist and saying, “I dunno,” over and over.
You may be young. Not may be, you ARE. But you have great power.
A little boy will act, behave, think, and speak out of powerlessness. When you shrug your shoulders and say, “I give up, cause I don’t know,” you’re telling me you have no power, and no opportunity for it.
When you mutter under your breath, you’re saying, “I’m afraid for my mind to be exposed. I’m scared to be heard.”
When you walk around with your shirt untucked, your shoes untied, your hair a mess, you’re telling me, “I don’t think anyone can see me. I feel invisible.”
You’re not. You are not powerless. Unless, you believe a lie that you are.
A powerless, helpless man, a little boy, will let anything filthy come out of their mouth, because they’re dying to be heard.
A pitiful, little man will see a beautiful woman and honk their horn, roll by and whistle, click their tongue, or play with her body in his imagination.
A powerful, grown man will see a beautiful woman and walk up to her and say, “Hi, my name is __________, whatever, and I think you are gorgeous.”
Then he will smile and nod and walk away from her. She will stand there, mesmerized, pleasantly surprised, and wonder who you are.
She will have just seen power. Confidence. This man knows who he is.
He doesn’t need to holler at her or play with her body, because he knows that would tear her down and him along with her.
He knows that he is worthy of her time and respect. She can trust him, so he doesn’t have to beg. He doesn’t have to act a fool to impress her.
A young man is the seed of a powerful, grown man.
When you say the creed, you are realizing the power that your body, mind, and soul carry for good or for evil in this world.
Evil is the baby of powerlessness and pride.
When you say, “I am a young man,” you think you know what it means.
But are you certain you know what it doesn’t mean?
I see young men everyday at this school. I also see pitiful, oversized baby boys. They are helpless, and I do not pity you.
If you are acting out, you have believed the lie that you are powerless. I don’t care where you come from, who yo’ daddy is, what the men in your life are like—that’s a lie. Your decisions make ripples in your home, your community, this city, the world.
You should be more scared of the massive amount of power you carry, than you are of never “becoming” something.
You will never know everything, you will never be jacked more than every guy you know, you will never get it all right. You will never get every girl. You will get hurt. You will struggle.
Welcome to life. But within it, you have power. You can add to the chaos or can redeem it. I am a young man is a statement of power. Don’t believe the lie that you are anything but."
I need the men around me to not feel afraid of being attacked for simply being men.
(Especially my white, straight, conservative, Christian men---who by the way, are also FLAWED, IMPERFECT, SOMETIMES RUDE, STUPID, and IGNORANT. Yes, we get it. We hear you. BUT-)
Their voice and their livelihood are not invalid simply by virtue of being all of the above.
I am grateful for the fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons, who know they are men and take that responsibility as a mandate from God, and they fear Him.
If I don't lose my mind by then, my sons will be encouraged to walk with the fear of a Holy, active, just, all-knowing God, who will demand an account for every thought and deed and leave nothing left unaccounted for.
Should I be so fortunate, my sons will live in awe at the grace and mercy of Jesus, who took their failed masculinity to the cross, and be people who actively redeem society and not add to the atrocities.
I am more wary of a society that can't put two and two together, that we need God in order to not have corrupt men. Continuing to deny Him will only perpetuate the problems that women are rightly critical of.