For the Boys

This one’s for all my guys out there. My brothers from other mothers, my pals from other gals. For my homies, gents, bros, and friends. This one's for you!

 

Before anyone makes a rash opinion about me, or this article, please let me preface which type of “bro, homie, and pal” I’m exactly referencing. Before I ramble please allow me to begin with a little back story. Coming into my senior year of college I knew I wanted to make this year all about me (as selfish as that sounds). I wanted to join the clubs on campus that I’ve always heard, do all of the things I missed when I was working three-four days a week, but most importantly, I wanted to discover me. I wanted this year to be about growth; academically, socially, philosophically, etc. Anywhere I could grow as a better human being, I was all for it. One night I happened to stumble in on a HerCampus meeting, 100% by accident. I was sitting around the house just listening and I realized that this was a bad-ass group of women who cared about the culture they lived in and just wanted to have fun, hangout, talk about the issues that only debilitate those who identify as female, but also put on really cool events that promote female connection and progression. I must admit I thought HerCampus was a political group on campus that discussed the social issues facing modern Americans today but I said I would join so, here I am.

For all my bros, homies and pals; gents who have a multi-layered daily face routine, who care about what they look like, who appreciate the art of cultivating a daily “fit”, who thrive off of being polite, who don’t get uncomfortable when girls refer to them as a “king” or “qweeeeeen”, who prioritize engaging in social conversations, who enjoy a face mask every now and again, who like to listen to podcasts, who were called “girly” as a kid because what they did were things that emasculated other men around them, this one’s for you.

The concept of “being masculine” has never really made any sense to me. I just never got what made another guy more masculine than I was. Was it the way he talked? Was it the way he dressed? Perhaps it was his opinions on the political landscape of modern America? In any case, I will never understand those who make others feel as if they are not “man enough”. Scratch that, I will never understand those who make others feel as if they are not good enough. Period. Do I have to play sports, drink obscene amounts of beer, hang naked posters of girls in my dorm room, suppress my human emotions because they make me vulnerable just to secure my spot in “the he man woman haters club”? Now, for those guys who operate within this lifestyle, all the power to you. I wish I liked sports, I wish I wasn’t a lightweight, I wish my décor was more rustic and even risqué. Is it girly to say décor? Doesn’t matter. I wish I had a more “put-together exterior”. Sadly, I was dealt a different deck of cards. All I’m trying to communicate is that being a man, in the 21st century, should look a hell of a lot more different. Think of it like this. Would you want everything you see in the world to be one color? Would you want the color of your favorite shirt to always be yellow? Or the color of your favorite vacation destination to always be yellow? Maybe you do, and props to you. But life without variation is a life that I do not find interesting. I need dynamics, I need people to live lives they want to live. It’s a waste of time to wait around and wait for someone to live your life for you. I heard this crazy rumor once that life is a one time deal (I refuse to write YOLO in an article), so why the hell should I let another person tell me the way I should be living it?

I know first-hand what derogatory language can do the self-esteem of a man. I’m no psychologist but I would bet it may impact the manner in which one develops personal identity and self-esteem.  If society, or smaller groups of people (or whomever), are continuously telling you that you are not good enough, it becomes easier and easier to fall victim to their words. Self-expression, being emotional, or being in tune with the way you’re feeling does not, and will never, be biased in the realm of gender. We are all human. Every man, woman, and non-conforming gender in between and I think it’s about time we start talking about it. Far too often we revert to the language that has perpetuated generations of oppression because it’s normal and we, yes even you, are scared to challenge the norm. This applies to all facets of social life. You can cross examine this notion with politics, discussions on sexual orientation, etc. This article is meant to challenge the way you see yourself, invite you to embrace who you are to the fullest extent, and allow for constructive conversation on the basis of human identity. So, for all my fellas out there, yes even the ones who enjoy a Sunday football game and a snappin’ cold brewski, kick your feet up and put on a face mask, you deserve it.