What is the role of a man in today’s society? It seems like masculinity has declined, and machismo is no longer required of men. A magazine article from The Atlantic went as far as to declare that “The End of Men” is upon us. Over the last few decades, the role in the work force has transitioned from brawns to brain. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, men’s share of labor force with women has declined from 70 percent in 1945 to 50 percent in 2009. Women have overtaken men in their percentage of students in college and graduate school, while men have retained their lead in alcoholism, suicide, homelessness, violence, and criminality. Add in the “Great Recession” and how male-heavy industries like construction and manufacturing have been devastated, and many could ask if real men have almost disappeared. So now we can leave it to the media to push for the retro man’s comeback. Books such as The Dangerous Book for Boys, A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man, and Shop Class as Soulcraft are on top of some reading lists. A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man covers almost any topic, from which urinal to use in a restroom, to what kind of music to listen to. Also some shows on television such as Dirty Jobs, Axe Men, and Deadliest Catch are all renovating the concept of dangerous blue collar work. Men in today’s society cannot continue to fight for this traditional image that a man is macho. I can personally confirm that I am not making a push for the comeback of a traditional man. How do I know this? Throughout my life I have had many experiences that have led me to truly understand who I am as a person.
First and foremost, men can no longer continue to stick to this timeworn decree of masculinity. No progress will be made unless one observes “themselves” from an outside perspective. When looking at myself I can see a machismo, chivalric, dominant, and aggressive man. I can also see myself as emotional, passive, or submissive. These are just a few words that cover the broadest of spectrums, but I couldn’t explain myself with a mere handful of words. Every situation in one’s life could be handled a different way, resulting in an unlimited list of characteristics a person could present to others.
For example, growing up through elementary to high school, I played a various selection of sports. Almost all sports require manly attributes such as strength, bravery, and competitiveness. Even females that play sports have these qualities, and are sometimes referred to as being masculine. If you want to be successful within athletics you must take on these qualities, and they almost become a part of you. I played organized basketball since I was in the fourth grade. From day one, athletics is just a huge competition. You start at tryouts, competing to make the cut, then at practices you compete for a starting position, and finally your team competes to score the most points and win a game. My coaches for eight years told me to play, “tough, hard, strong, physical, and even more physical;” all qualities that a brawny man needs to win. Coaches always seemed to reward the players that would stay active during the game while diving after loose balls, rebounding missed shots, and playing tough defense. I have competed in many athletics, and they have taught me so many various characteristics that you can’t learn from a classroom, peers, or elders. One must perform toughness, physicality, and competitiveness to understand these behaviors. I have certainly taken advantage of the sanctuary that athletics sets aside for an all-out battle of masculinity. These rambunctious games have instilled into me many machismo traits.
Another example that led me to the kind of man I am is how open my family was to various behaviors. I am one of eleven siblings and eight of which are females. I am the youngest, and became closest with my sister, Abby, who was two years older than I. Abby and I would play with her...