13 Things I Would Tell My Son About Being a Man
I am plagued in my life by an ever-expanding line of people obsessed with the idea that "manliness" and "masculinity" are under threat, maybe even extinct. I can't comment on a single issue involving sexual assault or women's rights without some shining example of my gender leaving a 300-word comment talking about how feminism has turned men into, I don't know, men, but the kind that were in cages in the first Planet of the Apes flick.
Change can be a scary thing, I understand that. I myself need a strong shot of vodka to take any new operating system on head first. That said, the true definition of manliness has not actually changed at all. What you're seeing is the death of cowardice disguised as strength, and control masquerading as protection.
The art of being a man is still alive and well, and if it is to survive into the rest of the 21st century then it will require applying traditional principles to an ever-shifting world of new paradigms. What is a modern example of manliness?
13. A man produces something. Preferably, he produces more than he consumes, but regardless of his circumstance he creates something for others to enjoy and be thankful for. This can be monetary wealth, child-rearing, home maintenance, artistic work, anything as long as he refuses to lay idle and only consume. A real man knows the meaning of worth because he is intimately familiar with being the source of it.
12. A man knows that men have traditionally held power in society; therefore it falls to men to be ever-vigilant in noticing wrongs that must be righted. A man does not allow misogynists, racists, bigots, rapists, or other hateful folk to operate without rebuke. Those things should not be, not within the reach of his hand. A real man seeks fairness and justice in all things.
11. There are areas where society is unfair to men, such as America's lack of paternity leave for instance. A man seeks to emulate the brave struggle of other groups by fighting to end those unfair practices through lobby, petition, protest, and court. A real man does not seek his due by insisting that the rights of others be ignored, or that their complaints are imaginary or manipulative. Yes, Men's Rights Activists, I'm talking to you. Rent a bus and hit Michael's for sign supplies instead of calling women bitches if you want unfairness in child support or custody laws to get more attention.
10. A man celebrates the march to equality by all who seek it, because to fight and to refuse to stay down when society knocks you to your knees is the essence of integrity. A real man knows that more rights for others does not mean fewer rights for himself, and that even when women are fighting oppression they are often fighting to lift men with them along the way.
9. A man is comfortable with his own sexuality, including quirks, kinks, hang-ups, and fetishes as long as these things are legal and between consenting adults. He acknowledges these openly, and does not allow any vague societal sense of shame to twist his own desires into a form of hate. He also understands that others may be different from himself, but that it is not his place to judge another person's preferences in this regard. He does not mistake what is evil, rape and pedophilia and the like, for desire but recognizes them as sickness and wrongness.