There is going to be a lot of talk about that term in this series.
My blog is about exploring what makes a man, what masculinity really means and why we feel the need to compare ourselves to unlikely caricatures of masculine men. Who really can live up to John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Dean or even The Fonz.
Oh yeah my millennial readers, right. The Fonz? Arthur Fonzerelli? Happy Days? No?
Okay either go ask your mom or Google.
Now lets think… umm, who are your strong masculine role models? At least in terms of actors??
Dwayne Johnson? Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr?
Ok, Dwayne Johnson is obvious ‘cuz he’s The Rock, duhh!
The others played superheros so that makes them…more of a man than Leonardo DiCaprio or Jude Law? Do they? How so?
As I was researching masculine role models for millenials, and yes I had to research that because I couldn’t think of any and really it wasn’t easy! There were more articles on why there aren’t any masculine role models for millennials than articles on who those might be. Actually I ended up Googling top 10 male actors of the decade to find the answer.
I don’t think the answer is in who are the role models of masculinity for millenials and beyond. I think the answer is what is masculinity and what does it mean to millenials, and all men in this era. Once that question is answered we may find our culture has a plethra of examples. (Yes, 10 issues in and I finally have an excuse to use the word ‘plethra’ appropriately).
I’m not saying John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Dean and The Fonz aren’t appropriate role models, except….
John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Dean and The Fonz aren’t appropriate role models for masculinity. I mean not today. And let’s face it Fonzie, were you ever?
Ps. If ‘The Fonz’ was as cool as he thought he never would have allowed anyone to ever call him ‘Fonzie’.
But this post isn’t about who we choose to emulate in todays society, or who we choose to point out as pillars of manhood to our younger male friends, children & nephews. Sidebar, and let’s face it, we can’t leave out our nieces, daughters etc. Because they need male role models to and how masculinity is presented to them is actually just as important as it is to males because they need to know how a man should act. Towards them and towards others. While that statement in itself could be classified as toxic, without delving too deeply here I’ll slide into the Cliff Notes and describe a real man as a Contemporary Gentleman maybe, someone who is strong, secure, courteous, kind, brave and loyal. Oh those happen to be characteristics relevant to every human being?
Oh yeah, millenials again, Cliff Notes… think Wikipedia for every book you had to read in high school.
In the new year we are digging deep into this topic of masculinity, and redefining it so we can stop seeing ‘toxic masculinity’ in the top 5 spots on my Google results when I look up the ‘M’ word. Lets just figure out what it is so we can stop talking about what it no longer is.
Here’s an appropriate start:
“A real man knows how to hold his liquor”.
I know you’ve heard that line, I’ve heard it hundreds of times growing up.
Guess what? Bullshit. A real man learns moderation and learns what his tolerance level is and adjusts his intake according to situations.
Being that it’s just about New Year’s Eve, there’s no better time to discuss this than today.
Men, get real!
Masculinity, being a man, means knowing how to keep yourself and your friends and loved ones safe.
This isn’t just some ‘Don’t drink and drive’ Public Safety Announcement.
This is THE ‘Don’t drink and drive’ Public Safety Announcement
What kind of man puts the lives of others in jeopardy by getting behind the wheel after drinking?
It’s New Years Eve.
Find an event if you so desire. Friends party, a club, a restaurant, etc.
If you are going to be drinking, stay there.
If you can’t stay there, call an Uber.
(I’d prefer option one as it keeps you off the road altogether, it’s called ‘Amateur Night’ for a reason.)
Make arrangements with the party host to crash there, or with friends nearby or at a close hotel you can walk to.
Better yet, host the party yourself and invite others to crash at your place and stay the morning for New Years Brunch.
Just don’t get behind the wheel after you have been drinking, that won’t prove your manhood, only your penchant for making bad decisions.
Real men don’t drink and drive.
'Nuff said. Happy New Year!