What makes a real man?What makes a real man? Is it virility? Prowess? Strength? Physical stamina? Success in life? The list goes on and on and the answers are as varied as can be. Indeed, many articles have been written about this subject from many different perspectives, cultures and contexts –- and the arguments range from very academic to downright funny and sarcastic.The definition of what makes a real man varies among cultures, among age groups and evolves through time. For instance, countries that put very high premium on having male children, like China and Japan, view fathers of male children as more virile, and thus more manly, than those who can not. It is not surprising for males of countries like these to regard the females as inferior lower-class citizens and largely treat them as such.
On the other hand, some cultures that are matriarchal, like Spain, males are still considered manly despite being subservient to their mothers. There is a running joke about what men boast about in various stages of their lives: in their teens and twenties, they boast about their sexual conquests and prowess, getting drunk and winning fights; in their thirties and forties, men boast about their cars, their careers, wives, and mistresses; in their fifties and sixties, they boast about what ailments they have and the many medicines they take for these ailments, and finally in their seventies, they boast about the kind of memorial plans they have.Over time, the image of what makes a man’s man has also evolved. Whereas before the image of a manly man was strong, afraid to show his feelings, uninterested in womanly affairs, the man of today is not afraid to be vulnerable, committed to share in the burdens of housekeeping and child caring, and in touch with his emotions. They even wear manly make-ups – a huge market for cosmetics firms. Yet, the image of machismo pervades our societies still. In an article entitled “Wake-up Call for Real Men”, McLean cites that “boys are still taught to be tough, not cry, suppress emotions, and be strong at all costs. In fact, we teach our boy children that all of this is necessary to become a man”.
The same article cites what Zoske, a healthcare practitioner said that “in striving to be ‘real men,’ they live higher-risk lifestyles, driven by internalized messages of competition, invulnerability, control, emotional suppression, and independence”. Sadly, this is still the concept of real men today.On a related note, human sexuality is defined as:How people experience the erotic and express themselves as sexual beings.
It has many aspects; biological, cultural, psychological, and sociological. Biologically, sexuality refers to the reproductive mechanism as well as the basic biological drive that exists in all species and can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms….. It is a part of the social life of humans, governed by implied rules of behavior and the status quo. The sociocultural aspect examines influences on and from social norms, including media such as politics and the mass media. (Wikipedia).To a large extent, how people view human sexuality and their concept of real men are intimately interlinked.
These are bound by sociocultural limitations and implied rules and behavior that society dictates. Many men either fall into stereotypes or defy them. One such person is Michael Jackson.
He defied the Hollywood stereotype of the typical macho men, the Clint Eastwood type, and chose to be true to himself – never mind if there were allusions to his unorthodox sexual preferences. This is an entirely different topic to discuss, and one that needs to be delved into more deeply.He chose to live his life the way he wanted to, unmindful of what media might portray him to be, unafraid to tread on new grounds. For many of his fans, Michael was not only a real man, he was a real person. He pursued his passions and interests because he wanted to, not because society dictated he should.
He won some, and lost some. To his death, he remained to be an enigma.WORKS CITEDMcLean ,Rob. “Wake up Call for Real Men”.
1997. 9 July 2009. <http://www.cyberparent.com/men/realmen.htm>Wikipedia. “Human Sexuality”. 2009.
9 July 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sexuality>