I found this picture posted on Facebook today. It riled me. It riled me partly because of how demeaning it is. It also riled me because it is too accurate.
For a long part of human history, gender roles were pretty set. Men were men and women were women. In the West, we have made major (however imperfect) strides to let women out of their old boxes. Many girls in the West now grow up with a question “What kind of woman do I want to be?”. It’s time for Western heterosexual males to start asking a similar question. What kind of men do we want to be?
Many of us have become “guys”, or worse yet “dudes”. Guys are stupid. Guys want nothing more than to sit on the couch and kill ourselves with bad food, drink alcohol, and watch TV. We don’t know how to take care of our children. We don’t know how to take care of our women. We fall asleep on the couch with the remote control in our hand. Meanwhile, life is passing by. Our world needs us.
Women deserve to have power and place in society. They deserve to have an equal voice in family and society conversations. They deserve equal pay, and they deserve to be safe from violence. But they also deserve to have the male figures in their life stand up and be men, not boys, not just guys, or dudes. Our women deserve to be surrounded by men of honor, men who will help them rise not by slumping over, but by sharing a standard of excellence. Children deserve to be respected, and listened to, and they deserve to be safe from beatings and humiliations handed out by dads. But they also deserve to have a real fathers- real men of strength and fierce purpose- holding them and sitting at the heads of dinner tables. Most dads today don’t beat their kids with belts, they injure them instead with their impotence, with their absence and existential floppiness. Fathers, husbands, partners, guys: we need to wake up.
We shall, once again, make it a great thing to be a man. We shall reclaim the intelligence of men. The beauty of men. The power of men. We shall reclaim our backbones and balls and we shall use them well. This work is going to change us. All of us. It’s going to change our families. It’s going to change our workplaces and our country. This work is going to change our world.