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My Masculinities Project Contribution

My Masculinities Project – Matt

I know exactly what a man is, or rather what makes up a man.  How could I not considering I have the parts that make me a man and I mean literally that my penis exists?  Beyond the physical attributes required to be hanging between one’s legs to be a male in our species, what exactly is a “man”?  To be completely, utterly honest I have no idea whatsoever.  So I guess the proper question to address is what do I THINK a man is or should be?

Ultimately, our society puts all of these different ideas and limitations on manhood.  Thinking back to living in a rural area it’s the cars, trucks, women, sports thing; but all of those are just interests or in the case of women, a need to reproduce (and thank god nature failed me on that one).  So putting all of these things together, being a man is a culmination of interests.  After the interests people would say something about family, providing, the old hunter mentality.  Therefore, man = providing for a family + random interests considered masculine by society.

Funny enough, I still do not believe that is what I think a man is supposed to be or what masculinity means.  At this point in my life I am not providing for a family, in fact my family is providing for me.  Even further I am, right at this moment, incapable of having a family because of the fact that I am in a relationship with another man along with being 24 years old and not wanting children at all right now.  So based on what I have seen, the portrayal of what a man is means that I would be at roughly 50% of a man.  On top of that, why do one’s interests have to be masculine in order for the person to be a man? Yeah, I have interests that are considered masculine, but then on the same token I have one’s that are probably feminine.  For instance I really like romantic comedies. I cannot tell you why, but I do.  That, I would assume, would be considered feminine to a degree.  So from that aspect, my feminine qualities would retract from my masculine ones; I think.  So all told, I would be lucky to be 10% of a man. 

So back to the first question of what is a man?  We, as a society, have this iconic idea of what one is, but the reality that I see is a man does not exist.  Clearly, males do exist since we have members of our species that have, well, a member, but the idea of a man in being masculine?  That I just do not see, we are all way to different to be defined and put into this constricting box.

Personally I think it actually looks like this:  man = who the hell knows + do we really care all that much.  Being a man is what you define it as.  I cannot define a man for anyone other than myself, and quite frankly I’m still working on that.  Truly, I will probably be working on that until the day I die, because all I have right now is: being a man is. . .  Something.  It is hard to define even for yourself, so why focus on it?  Maybe at some point in my life someone will say, “That’s a man” in reference to me, until then I will keep living and assuming in my blind ignorance that I am a man, I mean after all I have the parts to be one, so that is really all I need right?


About CSMMD Admin

The Center for the Studies of Masculinities and Men's Development at Western Illinois University. Research is clear that men are in crisis, particularly men from underrepresented populations. However, considerable disagreement exists about how to most effectively support men's engagement and development, while maintaining focus on social justice. The Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men’s Development aims to provide quality scholarship, advocacy, and programming that positively influences college men’s development in a manner congruent with gender equity and social justice.


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