What does it really mean to 'man-up'?
To all my fellow men: You have a choice to make between courage, indifference, and cowardice.
What sort of man do you want to be?
I've had a lot of time to think about who I am over the past two years since separating from my now ex-wife. Time to reflect on how I've acted and what I've felt; questioning my beliefs and convictions. Figuring out the truth behind who I am. It might come as no surprise that a lot of that time was spent wondering what it exactly means to 'be a man,' especially as I focus on growing into a better person myself, and raising my two boys.
When people talk about being a 'man,' courage and cowardice invariably polarize that definition. Perhaps not using those exact terms, but the general concepts are the same.
I have to admit, I actually don't like the way the phrase 'be a man' is used in today's culture. I don't agree with the background behind it or the implications it imposes. But if you are choosing to be labeled a 'man' and you are prepared to label others as 'men,' then you damn well better be sure what that phrase actually means to you.
Is it someone who is courageous? Someone who stands up for what's right, someone who's strong, someone who takes no bullshit?
Or does it mean someone who preys on people not physically able to resist? How about someone who abuses those who are open and honest? What about someone who makes sexual advances on vulnerable women? Perhaps, someone who takes advantage of another person to make themselves feel stronger? Or someone who is scared to show emotion and afraid of how other guys will react to their vulnerability?
Far too often we see men, so crippled by their own anxieties and fears, only able to feel strong and in control by showing malice, anger, and hatred to others, particularly those smaller or less physically and emotionally strong.
That, my friends, is what 'men' have become.
I'm ashamed of how far we should have evolved by now, and saddened by the reality of how far we actually have left to go.
Many, many 'men' don't act with courage. They act in fear. Fear of their own insecurities; scared of how others view them, and what society expects of them. Their fears cause them to resort to primitive acts of violence and abuse. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or both. 'Men' today abuse the boy who can't play football or the girl who doesn't put out.
They harass women on the street. They talk about the gay couple behind their backs. They objectify women. They judge people by how different they look or act.
They rape and blame it on provocation.
These so-called 'men' are afraid of how their emotions make them feel. They are scared and ashamed of their own vulnerability. Their fear makes them angry, they act out to show their 'strength.' This is a coward's way. Allowing fear to hurt innocent people.
There are far too many cases of 'men' sharing so-called innocent jokes about a female colleague, bragging about sexual conquests, or treating other people, women especially, like they are inferior. And every time the rest of us laugh off or ignore incidents like these, our implied support all but ensures the behavior will happen again.
Each and every day, in every walk of life, in every workplace, and in every country, something like this goes on. And so called 'good men' sit idly by.
I, too, have sat idly by for far too long.
Let me tell you, good men, do not sit idle. I'm done sitting idle. I'm done tolerating cowardice. I'm done with other 'men' acting out in fear under the guise of strength and machismo.
It's time for me to stand up.
It's time to stop allowing the misogyny, sexism, racism, and utter stupidity to live along side me. I am done with my silence implying support.
The next time someone shares a crude joke at a woman's expense or tells me about how they 'fucked this bird,' the next time someone whistles at a woman on the street or makes a gay joke, they will fucking hear about it.
Women shouldn't have to rally together to fix men's problems. Women shouldn’t have to be so concerned with gathering up their own strength and courage to fend off our verbal and physical assaults while men do nothing.
Where is our strength? Where is our courage? Ask yourself: What did you do the last time one of your colleagues made a sexist remark?
How do you speak about your ex?
When you heard about a rape, what was the first question that ran through your mind? Was it what the woman was wearing? Did you wonder how late she was out? Whether she was drinking? Or did you get angry and wonder what kind of a man does that and demand justice for the victim?
If you want to be a 'man,' have the courage to stand up for what's right.
Have the strength to protect those in need. Face your fears and rise to the challenge to become an honorable human being. Each one of us has the opportunity to evolve and change the disgusting narrative that plagues our gender. Your deep truth is that you are a good man. And the world needs good men.
If you agree with this, don't just like it. Talk about it with other people. Share it. Share this with the women in your life who deserve to know that we support them. Share this with the men in your circle who need to know that you will not support their misogyny any longer and inspire them to be better. Wanting to be a good man isn't enough. Be the type of man who influences others to make a change.
Your integrity is contagious.
You want to be a man? A real man?
Have the balls to be vulnerable.
Show your strength and stand up for women.
Be brave and lead by example.
It's time for us to man up, my friends. Will you join me?