I think the phrase “Be a Man” just screams ‘Masculine Toxicity’. In my opinion, when the society says “Be a Man” it hypothetically puts men in a box of unsolicited opinions and dictates how their emotions and thought process should be; which eventually becomes crazy, because these young men grow up with these “flawed societal mindset” of how they should be perceived as a man.
Men can and should be allowed to be vulnerable and not backlashed for it.
I asked some of my brethren’s some questions on their perception as regards this narrative “Be a Man”. These were their thoughts
What do you think society imply when they say ‘Be a Man’?
The society is saying “get your act together and be strong, do things that would help you overcome difficult times” because the fear always comes when there are challenges in a man’s life. – Dandells
The society is saying “Man up, don’t cry, be bold, be brave, don’t express emotions, the guy that doesn’t feel pain even when he is feeling pain” If you remember in secondary school, when everyone in the class is about to be caned, when a lady gets beaten it is okay for her to cry but the other way round is expected of the guys. – Emmanuel Faith
Well, they mean don’t behave in a way every normal human being would. – Ayomide
When you hear “Be a man” fam you’re literally being told to take charge. Don’t be emotional, turn on your masculinity and be brave – Sodiq
Mostly it is used in the context of being strong, or to shun emotional needs – Michael
On a scale of 1-10, how expressive/emotional do you think you are as a young man?
Expression/emotional as a man, I would put it on a 7 – Dandells
I am very expressive; I’m probably on an 8 – Emmanuel Faith
I am a 10 – Ayomide
I’d give myself a 3. And that’s being magnanimous. I rarely talk about my emotions because even when I do the person is most likely not going to be used to that kind of behavior from a man – Sodiq
Ermmm a 9. I’m extremely emotional. I don’t think I like it but I am very expressive – Michael
Do you know/heard of the guy FRODD from the concluded Big Brother season, he became noticed because of how emotional he was, and he got a lot of backlash? As a young man, do you think it is okay to breakdown/cry? When was the last time you cried and why?
When it comes to crying, I believe it’s not gender-specific, it is a form of expression. One thing crying does and a lot of people do not know is that it releases you from things that you have molded up. Because women are not wired to absorb a lot of things, they easily express themselves through crying but for men, society has made us understand that “you are a different breed, so you have to suck in some things, reason why men cry rarely. – Dandells
I think we live in a very hypocritical society, we have people say men should express themselves and then a man expresses himself and then these same people are lashing out at him again. The last time I cried was when I heard that a girl that I kind of liked died. So I saw her picture on a friend’s status and asked for her number but at some point I didn’t feel like pursuing her again so I didn’t follow up with the number, days after I heard that she passed, it was astonishing for me given that I was just asking for her number not long ago and to top it all I discovered that she had written her final stage of ICAN and was a friend’s sister, at that point I was really broken. I hadn’t cried like that in a long while. – Emmanuel Faith
Nah, I didn’t follow Big Brother but I feel it’s okay and normal for anyone to breakdown, we are all humans – Ayomide
As a man I think it is okay to breakdown/cry you have a tear duct for a reason, I only see a problem with it when it becomes too frequent. Crying is also a coping mechanism. Last time I cried was last year November, I was robbed and I had to beg around for money around past 10 at night – Sodiq
It is very okay to cry especially when you feel the need to; crying doesn’t exactly make you feel less of a man or better still less of a person. The last time I cried was when I lost my Nephew in 2017 – Michael
What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard about ‘being a man’?
Okay, my wife dies for an instant, I’m trying to express myself through tears and you are saying “I should be a man” being a man at that point doesn’t determine how I feel. So when you say ‘be a man’ have I not been a man before marriage, during marriage and I would still be a man when my wife dies. In my own view being a man is general since God said let’s create man in his image it meant both male and female. I feel God sees everyone has a man – Dandells
Just those basic things I mentioned earlier “Man Up bla bla” all those societal B.S it’s really disgusting, I mean we are human before man. As men, we also have emotions – Emmanuel Faith
I was really sick at the time and I went to the hospital, on getting there things became worse and I started crying guess what the doctor said? “Why are you crying, are you not a man?” Me that I was thinking I would die from the pain – Ayomide
“No dey do like woman” – Sodiq
“Men don’t apologize when they are wrong” That’s the weirdest thing I have ever heard of being a man, very backward thinking – Michael
What are the things you enjoy doing that the society doesn’t think it’s manly?
I think there are a lot of things I do that I know that the society doesn’t think it’s manly and I don’t care because I don’t go by the what the society thinks, I go by the bible and I go as the spirit leads – Dandells
Hugs! I love hugs. I hug even my male friends. I remember once, I was hugging a guy and a female said “Oh that’s so gayish” But when the ladies are hugging each other nobody says that’s so “lesbianish” – Emmanuel Faith
LOL, I can’t think of any right now, but I cry a lot when I watch some deep movies. I cried when I watched crazy rich Asians – Ayomide
I honestly don’t know because I’m so much indoctrinated into society’s idea of being a man that I don’t even know what ‘unmanly’ thing I enjoy doing. But there was a time in Uni I woke up in the middle of the night to cry because mans heart was broken – Sodiq
Apologizing, watching cartoons, saying no when you don’t have money – Michael
There you have it guys. “Humans before Man” Men should be allowed to express themselves as they personally deem fit and not because society says so.
You can check out my brethren’s on their following social pages
Dandells: IG – @damilaredandells
Emmanuel Faith: IG/Twitter – @themmanuelfaith || LinkedIn – Emmanuel Faith
Ayomide: IG – @ayomide.ajetomobi
Sodiq: Twitter – @_sodiq
Michael: IG/Twitter – @olamicheal_
Stay sweet until next time.