When your best friend is spending time with someone else:
You will constantly have people telling you, both implicitly and explicitly, that you have to be a man. What that even means, in the 21st century, I don’t quite know. It certainly has a less specific meaning than it used to, and that’s a good thing. Machismo was never a good fit for many of us guys and it clearly doesn’t make the world a more enlightened place. Still, if you are male, you will be forced to relate to this increasingly irrelevant concept of “being a man” in some way or another.
If you believe that you should have the freedom to pursue happiness within your rights, it’s only sensible to believe in that freedom for everyone, and that means making sexism your problem too, even if it never seemed like it was. At the root of it all is our lingering capacity for violence – the unfortunate biological reality that even a physically unremarkable man can knock out the average woman, if he thinks it will help him more than it will harm him.
So from the dawn of humanity, whenever there has been a disagreement between a man and a woman, both of them knew from the start – no matter what kind of reason or sense either side brought to the table – which one must eventually back down. Unlike the woman, the man could expect to get his way without having an intelligent argument, without considering the needs of others, without being right at all, without any sensible reason for things to go his way.
This expectation – that power over others is a viable, noble path to happiness – lingers in the way we talk, in the way we define manhood, in the expectations males place on each other. This is especially influential on high-school and college-age males, because they do not yet feel like men and they believe that they’re supposed to. The forces of civilisation and education are very slowly discrediting this stone-age approach to life and dismantling the power imbalance that has grown around it.
For us to get there, young men need to understand as early in their lives as possible that men have a long history of getting their way for no good reason. This advantage comes, of course, at the expense of fellow human beings, and we need to learn to be aware of it and eliminate it wherever we see it.
Is it your fault? No. But whether you want it or not, you’ve inherited the responsibility of creating a new answer to the ancient question of what it means to be a man. The old answers are no good.
alphabet soup more like times new ramen am i right