When men speak about or struggle with love they are considered weak. When they speak about or struggle with war they are strong. What gives?
“Why curse men in love and honor men at war?” Don Schrader is the man who wrote the question and he is the man carrying the sign above. I don’t have a ready-made answer for why society often does this but it’s clear to me that the question gets to the heart of something we’re trying to crush here at GMP. Being vulnerable enough to both give and receive love is the bravest, strongest act any man can engage in. Fighting in a war can be brave and strong, but isn’t always. Throughout history war can perhaps more often be described as “weak” and “dishonorable” rather than “strong” and “honorable.”
But there, floating like the invisible dust all around us, is the man-box definition that all of us men are supposed to cram ourselves into in order to be better men:
Arrgh! War! Hair on chest! Protector. #Beastmode. Kill!
Any alternative like love, affection or being a nurturer are flowery and weak and unmanly.
And yet I remember the days of being called a “typical jock” and a “dumb brute” when I was a professional mixed martial arts fighter.
And I remember the days of being called “gay” and a “pussy” when I was developing as a young poet.
And I remember the young Ivy League student: a high-school wrestler who gave up the violin because he was made fun of for it.
And I remember the amateur boxer who gave up his passion for painting because he was ridiculed and repeatedly called a “queer.”
If we want balanced men capable of being holistically strong and honorable, we must create an environment where men are encouraged to find and then express their authentic selves. Be warned: This means tolerating a helluva lot less bullshit and embracing a lot more of that L word: Love.
Like The Good Men Project on Facebook