This comment was from Bill on the post Don’t Be a Guy.
Ever since my early teens, my heroes have not been sports stars, actors, or rock singers. (After all, they’re entertainers, not heroes.) I’ve long been inspired by men (and women) who led social reform movements in this and other countries or spoke out against oppression behind the Iron Curtain or risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust. I’ve deeply appreciated those individual Americans who first questioned the legitimacy of Jim Crow and then spoke out against it. I suspect most of these men were “different” in the same way as you; namely, that they had the courage of their own convictions and did not fit in with whatever the prevailing mindset was. Does the “guy” culture appreciate this sort of heroism? I’m convinced moral courage is not as highly appreciated as some people would assume.
The now departed father of a childhood friend of mine represented black citizens of this country in discrimination lawsuits during the 1950s and the early 1960s. He and his family frequently received death threats. I’m sure he had more courage than most (if not all) of his high-school classmates, yet he seems to have felt ashamed for not having made the football team! Go figure …
But what can we expect from the popular culture that purports to define masculinity for all of us with a “one size fits all” approach? Would Esquire Magazine ever feature an article on the heroism of a man such as Andrei Sakharov or Raoul Wallenberg? No, I seriously doubt it. Most likely, the sort of man they’d honor would be a self-centered, self-indulgent playboy.
A guy’s search for his own masculinity follows different pathways. It just figures, as there’s so much diversity among men (certainly far more than I realized when I was an ignorant teenager). After all, we’re half the human race.