What it means to be a man

Will Clark, Editor-in-chief/ Managing Editor

Today, in 2019, what does it really mean to be a man? This question has existed since human beings were dragging their knuckles and building fires in caves. As time has passed, the societal expectations of being a “man” have changed and evolved. For the majority of human history, men have been the providers, the protectors, the decision makers, and in most cases, the tyrants. Today, however, as women have achieved unprecedented strides towards equality and the elimination of the sexist stigma that has plagued them for centuries, the place of the man in society is increasingly called into question.

For many generations, including current ones, men have been expected to fulfill the typical, testoserone-bursting image of a man. Every man should know how to shoot a gun, be ready and eager to fight at any moment, drive a big truck and boast of their agressive, sexual conquests; these have been the standards that most men have lived by for at least the last 100 years, but I believe that following these outdated notions would make me less of a man. Although I enjoy being an athlete, I don’t concern myself with taking pride or being sensitive about my level of masculinity. If a guy is checking out my girlfriend or accidentally bumps into me, I know that I’m going to laugh it off because my confidence would keep me from losing my temper.

I admit that when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school, if someone punched or kicked me in a water polo game, the first and only thing I wanted to do was get that kid back. Now, however, I laugh these hits off, and doing so always throws the agressor off to the point that he stops.

There are only a few times when resorting to physical violence is the correct thing to do. The foremost of these times is when someone else is in need of protection from physical assault. Aside from protecting yourself or someone else, however, there is almost no time at which fighting is the right thing to do. As for men and their interactions with women, the typical “man” would like to think that being the biggest, strongest and most aggressive guy in the room will get the girl, when in fact, it is oftentimes that these masculine men end up making fools out of themselves.

I am a pretty short guy. For many years, being so short was one of my main insecurities, and when someone would make fun of my height, or lack there of, I would become infuriated and extremely agressive to compensate for my perceived lack of manliness. Over the course of a year or so, I realized being short made me no less of a man, and now whenever someone makes fun of my stature, I can confidently dismiss their trivial insults. Not taking yourself too seriously and accepting who you are makes life more enjoyable for you, and being comfortable in your own skin shows the people around you that they too can be themselves without fear of ridicule.

The foremost characteristic of a gentleman is treating others with the utmost respect and courtesy. To be a man means nothing more than being a person of strong character. A man does the right thing in every situation, and when he does not, he owns his actions and learns from his mistakes rather than attempt to hide the blunders. In short, as Mr. Sogo always says, do the right thing.