To be a Man

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Dear Readers,

Men have parts of them that are broken and need to be healed, but the standards set forth by society is this, men are indebted to the principles of the Maculine gender that requires them to “Confirm to the idea of Manliness” as quoted by Paul Theroux, On Being a Man. Therefore, to behave in any other manner besides what’s expected some men run the risk of being labeled or accused of stepping outside their assigned gender role.

As part of my role as a motivational coach for my brand Conversations with J. R. Floyd, my mission is to discuss issues that impact intimate relationships, to empower men and women to be brave and examine their brokenness as the first step on the path to healing.

Recently, I was called upon by one of my male viewers who also happens to be a former students of mine. He need a face to face coaching session his issue, he ended a relationship that he now says was a mistake.
When we meet my first question to him: “ Why did he broke off the relationship?”
His answer: “ Because I am a man and I like to be in control.”
Me: silence.

While he continued to tell me what lead up to his decision, I thought back to our first meeting two years ago, this young man was hard core angry. As time went by he opened up and I discovered that his anger was a result of the lack of his mothers’ love. Despite this he matured right before my eyes and made it to graduation. I thought that he had conquered his anger issues. I don’t place 100 percent of the blame on him this is a 50/50 situation; he comes from a culture where men are expected to live up to “ MACHISMO”, secondly, he has been misled by all the myths on what it really makes a man, a man.

The bottom line he showed me an emotional side that other men would say makes him weak because he is showing emotions. Instead of sitting around his “ home boys” drinking and celebrating the fact that he showed her, his ex -girlfriend who is boss by breaking up with her, instead he called me for help. Other men would accused him of  being a punk for wanting to crawl back to a woman. When I looked in his eyes I saw pain and confusion. It is despairing that we live in a society where men are not allowed to connect to their emotions freely without judgement. The good things about this situation is that the young lady is willing to give him another chance, but she wants to see changes in his aggressive behavior. I gave him homework, he is to write in his journal each night, and he is to reserve every other saturday to pure dating, talking and just getting to know his partner, and she has agreed to be patient and take things very, very slow.

He left our first coaching session smiling and in his eyes I saw hope. I couldn’t help but think about all the young men in this world that are being raised to be a man, but they haven’t a clue about what being a man means.

What say you?

The commercialization of Gender

From before individuals are even aware of what gender is parents celebrate the assignment of a gender. The words “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” excites parents so that they are able to buy what they may perceive as the proper merchandise or home décor for their children. As time goes on, the assignment of gender has become commercialized and the media makes it so that these roles are fulfilled in its correct form. Society also has unrealistic standards about what constitutes as a real man or a real woman. If these gender roles are not fulfilled they suffer from punishments that at some times are not physical. Traditions and other factors may seem insignificant to some, but as time goes on one realizes that the media and evolving traditions eventually play a role in how gender is perceived by oneself and by others. 

Gender announcements were generally used for informative purposes have now become commercialized. Gender reveal parties are a new trend that many parents look forward to. A gender reveal event is when a woman opts out of finding out the gender of the child. The gender of the child is placed in an envelope and sent to a bakery or an event planner by the doctor’s office. Many friends and family are called to a venue or meeting place and extravagantly reveals the gender of the child. Although a child should be celebrated, many families who partake in these activities do not acknowledge the cons associated with celebrating a gender before a child is born. It is understandable that knowing the gender creates a sense of connectivity to the child before birth but our society and marketplace makes it difficult to just accept the fact that a child is born, and instead focus on the gender without observing the child’s actions to better understand who they wish to be.

This emerging act has been observed by many child developmental psychologists in the sense of encouraging parents to promote gender neutrality in their households. With gender neutrality being encouraged, some parents fall into believing myths of how gender neutrality can be detrimental to a child’s perception of gender. Some parents believe that gender neutrality parenting will make the child “anti-masculine” or “anti-feminine”. Some critics on this idea have a firm belief that this is a way of giving your child the approval to be gay. Studies and ideals like these are important because when an individual finally has the chance to be who they want to be, there is a sense of confidence in oneself that can be passed on to others that may struggle with their sense of belonging because of societal and strict family standards about deviating from the gender they were born.

When people think of how culture plays a role in what gender is, hip hop culture places a strong emphasis on how men should be. The hip-hop industry places a strong emphasis on what the “real man” is. Some songs have violent messaging and videos have degrading gestures to women in their music videos. Although individuals are quick to judge the media and rappers for using these songs to make a profit, it is imperative to realize that some of these values whether it be from the rapper or their management companies are instilled in young men when they are growing up. They are taught that women are “sluts” when they dress a certain way, and unfortunately some are taught that women should not talk back and if they do there are consequences. Even if a man is not taught these things, they observe these behaviors and ideals  in their households and project their beliefs in their performances or in their relationships. Unfortunately rappers are supposed to keep the mentality of a macho man, or they are perceived as a waste of a man or soft. Some people even go as far as to call them gay or told they are acting like a woman.  Although these punishments come in the form of insults, it poses a problem because it directly insults a woman and her gender roles.  

Society, traditions, and trends are a great influencer in the debate of what a real woman is. The real woman is supposed to have hourglass features, wear makeup, and wear colors that are appropriate for women. Along with trends and beliefs women should not be judged for how they decide to dress but should be prepared to understand the consequences that are accompanied in a world where being you is close to impossible. In this generation, we have “bottle service girls”, strippers, and video vixens who make a living by being who they want to be in the media. However, these are the same women who give no regard to the ridiculous real women debate, and stand by their beliefs regardless of what men might say about them. Women suffer from rape and are often insulted and disrespected when people think that they are not being “ladylike”. Women live in a world where if they defy gender norms, they risk being attacked physically or emotionally.

Another popular gender performance is the drag culture. In drag, masculinity and femininity is exaggerated. The common perception of people who participate in drag culture is that they defy gender norms and are gay. However, drag is merely a form of self-expression and those who enjoy it should not be judged. The drag culture is also criticized by the transgender community because some transgendered people work hard to embrace their new identities and believe that they are being ridiculed for it through performance.   

In society men are attacked for not being a manly man, while others attack women for not being lady like. Although people are so adamant in judging others about what they should be, we live in a world where people are not only attacked by words but other people punish others using actions. In a transgendered community, some are denied resources whether it be for employment or educational purposes. Also they are attacked and murdered when people do not understand self-expression. Rather than punishing people who deviate from gender norms using force, at time people make it hard for them to survive and insult them for wanting to express themselves in a way that other individuals may not understand. Individuals should start to live lives so that we are not judging someone because they are not straight or judging someone because they are partaking in drag performances. A simple “gender” assignment should not be an indicator of who has the okay to live a certain way.

What say You?

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