From a fascinating book called “Guyland – The Perilous World Where Guy Become Men” by Michael Kimmel comes a quick run down of the most popular responses to the author’s question of “What makes a man a man”:
- Boys don’t cry
- It’s better to be mad than sad
- Don’t get mad get even
- Take it like a man
- He who has the most toys when he dies, wins!
- Just do it
- Size matters
- I don’t stop to ask for directions
- Nice guys finish last
- It’s all good
Ugh. How fittingly this sums up most of the cognitive dissonance that has plagued me and the throngs of men that inhabit this day and age. Is this what makes a man? Is this the criteria that we want our young men, our little boys to use to determine what makes them a man?
In this day and age with normal societal markers that adolescents and adults use to determine adulthood mostly coming later and later, we are leaving our children, our boys to fend for themselves when it comes to emotional maturity. Working parents, latch-key kids, delayed marriage and delayed child-rearing, longer lifespans, and communities that offer zero support- is it any wonder that our boys, our adolescents are lost when it comes to approaching adulthood?
And then we have this code, handed down by other boys in a ritual of creating adult boys that have no real idea what it is to truly be a man. Adult children in a man’s body – Guyland is a place where the truth of a man is lost in the rush for identity.