How I Define Masculinity

by Jason Allen

Lets paint a picture of what society says true masculinity is:

  • Tall, dark, and handsome
  • The most confident man in the room, demanding attention from everyone
  • Muscles, that have muscles, that have abs
  • Always having the most gorgeous, size 0 woman on your arm
  • Bragging about all the sexual conquests you have had
  • Being able to out-drink any human or creature
  • And being ready to fight if any of these things are challenged

If you pictured Ryan Reynolds, Idris Elba, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We see these images and hear these messages everywhere we look. Society doesn’t challenge our masculinity, it tells us what our masculinity should be and how to get there: if you do this workout plan, you will be happier and sexier; if you drink this alcohol, you will be happier and sexier; if you date women who are skinny, tall (but not taller than you) and blonde, you will be happier and sexier. To society, masculinity means happier and sexier.

We hear and see these things as children, which directly impacts how we mature and develop our masculinity. These young men attend colleges that only perpetuate these social ideals, in which we spend orientation battling in a proverbial, and some times literal, dick-measuring contest. At which point, broken fraternities welcome these men in with open, chiseled arms and vapid, empty hearts.

What I do know is that masculinity is 100% different for every single self-identified man. As a survivor of abuse at a young age from a family friend, who has struggled with his confidence for years, here is what I can tell you: My masculinity doesn’t meet many societal standards.

  • I’m not that tall, I’m not that dark, and I never really feel that handsome
  • I don’t read well, and I have never been able to publically speak that well either
  • I have not slept with many women, and never talk about it
  • I am skinny, often times called manorexic
  • I am not that outgoing or extroverted
  • I don’t have exciting hobbies, or any hobbies really
  • I don’t love playing football or basketball
  • I’m not very healthy – I don’t like running or eating the healthiest foods
  • I’m not a fan of whisky
  • I’m never emotionally unattached, and not giving a phuck isn’t really possible for me
  • Taking my shirt off makes me uncomfortable
  • I’m not attracted to size 0 women
  • I cuss way too much
  • I don’t like driving
  • I’m scared of birds and the unknown
  • I don’t love wearing suits

But, what I do know about my masculinity is:

  • I am funny, caring, and petty with a purpose
  • I talk to women to be nice, not hoping to take them home
  • I’m a fiercely loyal person
  • I am a great friend, but will never remember your birthday
  • I am never fashionably late, just late
  • I don’t use cuss words to offend, I use them as sentence enhancers
  • I love Chick-Fil-A, and could eat it everyday if my bank account and Sallie Mae said it was okay
  • I never feel the need to physically fight during a disagreement
  • I actually like watching Netflix and chilling- no hidden messages there
  • I am an adamant believer in monogamy
  • I am attracted to women that have all the curves
  • I read self help books frequently
  • I’m not afraid of therapy and currently have one of the greatest life coaches
  • I will always be concerned with other’s feelings over my own
  • My masculinity is a phucking work in progress

To the men: I challenge you to not be afraid to define masculinity for yourself. Make your own list of why you’re happy with you. Try to intervene when you hear someone’s masculinity being challenged based on facades and BS. Lastly, love yourself.

Masculinity: Define it, live in it, and y’all, choose how you want to be happy and sexy.