they taught me

Day 1: they taught me — a letter to masculinity

“Boys should never cry

Keep it all inside

Never cross that line

Boys should never cry

Use your d*ck and just get over it

Feels like the only way that we exist

Like all that matters is your confidence”

– R.LUM.R

I think the greatest flaw with our society is that men aren’t allowed to feel. We aren’t allowed to have emotions unless it’s for one another.

Masculinity has flaws on many levels and that’s why men and women struggle to relate. Sometimes lessons aren’t shared across the border and a lot becomes assumed knowledge for the other party.

A woman is allowed to cry but a man cannot unless it’s for a comrade fallen in battle. Whether that be an actual war or a sports match. Men can empathize when their favourite soccer player misses a goal or passes away but when it comes to the plights of women they are clueless.

Men are taught hurt builds character and so they suffer through it, in fear that no one will understand or comfort them. Over the years I realised that’s a half lesson, it’s true that the challenges we go through build character, sometimes those challenges bring stress, pain and even hurt but it’s not only about taking on those challenges, it’s also about coming out alive.

How many men have committed suicide? How many men hide how they feel because we are taught, “a man can handle it”?

The ratio of male to female suicide is 2:1. I sometimes wonder if it’s because women don’t need permission to feel.

If a woman leaves you, go find another one. We are taught to brush it off or it will fix itself and finding another bedmate is the remedy to a broken heart.

Women, on the other hand, are taught to process the pain and guided through it. A woman can cry, vent, be upset until she is ready to move on. She is allowed to accept she isn’t okay and needs to heal.

Another challenge faced by men is the desire for validation. You aren’t just a man because you were born with a penis. If you don’t like sport, you’re not a man. You don’t have a job, your not a man. If you are too open about your feelings, then you’re not.

And even further down, there are still more hurdles before you are a “real man”. A man must know how to treat a woman regardless of his upbringing and the lessons from his past. I am not advocating for a man abusing a woman and I’m against it but I’ve seen in the past with friends who grew in households where their father’s hit their mother’s, they believed that’s how a relationship should work and it took a lot to change that mindset but first it required acknowledging that they needed help and not patronising their manhood.

There is pressure on both sides, each one wants to succeed. A woman wants to succeed for herself, to never need a man or she believes that a man must provide but a man is taught he is not successful if he can’t take care of his family. I admit that many do not take care of those they should or rather they focus on caring for those they deem to be family.

Men have flaws and the greatest lay in the concept of masculinity and what makes a man. Sometimes I think there is progress but then I turn on the news and I see there is still so much left to be done.

Jade Novelist ©️ 2019