Being a Man

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BBeing a Man by Paul Theroux

I personally do not agree at all with the perspective of Paul Theroux. Theroux’s major argument is how the idea of manhood in America is pitiful. He describes masculinity as “having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one’s entire life (in contrast femininity is nakedness).” What I believe he means by this is that every man must cover themselves up with a layer of manliness and toughness in order to be a man.

Throughout the essay Theroux reinforces his hate for manliness and the way we turn boys into men. One thing that strikes me as absurd is his remarks towards sports and towards the people who play them. He compares sports to being “a drug worse than marijuana and is a recipe for creating bad marriages, social misfits, moral degenerates, sadists, latent rapists and just plain louts.” He also says how few athletes are gentlemen and when reading this I could not disagree more. In fact I think that sports build character, toughness, work ethics, confidence, team work, determination and so many more characteristics that make up a successful gentleman.

Theroux continues to bash the male lifestyle and even suggests that “manly” behaviour is not acceptable to be a good person. He says that to act like a man means to act stupid, unfeeling, obedient, soldierly and stop thinking. While reading this essay I can’t help but wonder how many other men can possibly agree with Theroux, if any. Men want to be known as manly, they don’t want to be seen as weak or pathetic that has just been engraved in men forever. As mentioned he talks about athletes leading to social misfits but I think that Theroux has felt like a social misfit his whole life and is acting out. To me, a man must be tough. It doesn’t even have to be physical but every man I think needs to be at least mentally and emotionally tough. As men we are the ones who must protect our loved ones and be strong role models. What separates boys from men, is exactly what Theroux thinks is...
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