As perspectives about masculinity change, the phrase ‘Real Men‘ is becoming increasingly common.
It appears in articles, blog posts, dating websites and is a true virus in the age of viral media.
Men are men. All are real.
More importantly, people are people. All are real. Nobody is less real than another. Each is unique and beautiful in their own ways. However, as a man, I will speak from the masculine perspective.
Whenever I hear the phrase real man, I am aware of the hidden implication, “not real.” The idea that in order to be real and meet certain criteria to be so is based on false premise. I always wonder if such a person would appreciate being labeled as real or if in not living up to their own standards, feel ‘not real’.
I see a person who is not seeing me and who does not care to see me.
I am also aware that such an individual is judging their own self, and is attempting to live by a standard of so-called reality that is unattainable.
If a person is looking for a ‘real man,’ then one thing becomes clear: there are clear boundaries and guidelines that will please such an individual. Such limits may be reasonable or pure imagination. The limits placed on others are the limits one has placed upon their own self and live within.
If such a person defines men with certain traits, they will only be happy when finding an individual with those traits. Behaviors that are outside the box of ‘real men’ are triggers for such a person and will lead to conflict.
The phrase ‘real men’ is a judgmental term that validates certain traits over others.
What makes a man real? Aren’t we all flesh and blood? Is a man real because of wearing certain clothing? Or being sensitive in the right ways? Or being emotionally mature? Or strong?
Is a man real because he can treat a woman right? How does that validate men who are gay? Aren’t they real?
Is a man real because of the color of his skin? Or because he believes in god? Or science?
Is a man who isn’t angry more or less real? How about a man who defends his country through violence?
Is a man who doesn’t value spirituality real?
Is a man real because he makes something of himself? Who judges that worth?
Who determines what makes a man real?
Men are men, regardless our differences.
No man is just like another.
Each of us is real in our own unique way.
By using the phrase ‘real men’, the individuals who do not meet that criteria are diminished. As a man, just because I am skinny, tall with long hair and an artistic, does not make me any more or less masculine than anybody else. Masculinity is not in the appearance of manliness. It is a quality of soul, spirit and heart. To claim that some men are more real than others is demeaning.
Value the reality of masculinity. Choose to relate to people based on who they are for who they are.
Just as there are no ‘real men,’ the are no ‘real women.’
It is my opinion that women understand this far better than men, having been objectified and stuffed into stereotype boundaries for ages. Turning around and treating men and putting us in the same boxes will only perpetuate the cycles of misunderstanding and ignorance.
Each woman is unique, not like another.
Each human being is one of a kind.
Each of us is real.
When looking for a ‘real man,’ ‘real woman,’ or a ‘real person,’ remember authenticity. Embrace the fullness of human experience, and discover how to love without boundaries.
The reality of who a person is goes to depths beyond labels.
Everybody is real.
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Editor: Renée Picard