I know this isn’t always wise, but I want to “think” out loud.
How would you respond to this question?
Where do I feel manly?
I was listening to a lecture and the speaker asked an interesting question. Where do you feel the manliest? Two trains of thought competed for space in my mind. First the graduate school response jumped into my mind, “Define the term manly.” I wondered what he really meant by that question. The other train of thought that preceded was just to answer the question based solely on my raw first thoughts.
I feel most manly at the gym. That’s the first place that came to mind.
After a few more minutes the speaker made a statement that really hit hard. He said after a few decades of counseling with men NO ONE has ever said they feel most manly with their spouse. No man feels MOST manly with his wife anymore… Wow… really? That really caught me off guard. I even wanted to challenge his statement!
Interesting… If manly means intense, abusive, and overbearing then it is a good thing we put an end to it! There is however an interesting immerging social reality.
We have tied our gender identity into something bad. It is almost like culture is implying that being manly is antiquated, barbarian, or maybe even Neanderthal.
We don’t know what it means to be a man anymore.
Here, in my humble subjective opinion, is what I think happened and is still happening. Humanity went through a powerful social liberating season in the mid 1900’s that led into gender equality in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Honestly most of this was really good! To mirror the heart of Jesus ALL humans are equal in worth before God. (Gal. 3:28) Culture desperately needed to make a social evolutionary move. Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. was so right when he proclaimed, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Amen! I include gender in this too! Our worth as human beings is not tied into our gender or race.
But something happened…
Instead of carefully taking a scalpel and removing the social cancer of superiority some took a machete and hacked away at everything remotely connected to what they believe hurt them.
The end of manliness is coming fast and it is socially taboo to push back. Interestingly the homosexual movement is trying to revitalize a version of “manly” and few push back because it is MORE taboo to push against sexual preference in our day and age.
Wow, the concept “man” is truly under fire. What in the world does it look like to be a man? In other words, what does “manly” really look like?
So when the question is proposed “where do you feel most manly?” I am not sure we even know what “manly” is anymore.
Almost everything I have heard is what men SHOULDN’T be. So what should we be?