Redefining masculinity

Has the reference to masculinity changed over the years? Have men learnt to shrug off the demands of ‘toughness’ to adapt to the changing times where gender divide is continually broken?

When boys are admonished with a ‘be a man’ order, the stress, generally, is on covering up the emotion or demonstrating the stereotypical masculine trait of being tough – emotionally and physically. Despite modernisation acting as a harbinger of equality, people are won’t to train little boys on the import of being manly to be successful in life.

A quick survey of the employment sector will reveal that men, even today, are hesitant to take up jobs that have been previously seen as feminine. Even those who take up the traditional secretarial jobs want to label it as ‘personal assistant’ to tone down the feminine facets of the job. They rarely consider careers which have been traditionally seen as feminine. Although men have made entries in professions like teaching and nursing, the number is significantly less in comparison to women.

It is apparent that, despite the growing belief in the importance of gender equality, it is masculinity that is seen as a normal trait in a man. Any show of feminine qualities would find raised eyebrows in the society. But, is masculinity the only reference to a real man…?

The idea of a real man may be difficult to quantify, as it is dependent on individual interpretation, but there are certain commonly held beliefs that help understand the changing perceptions in our society.

Real man…

  • Knows how to fix their mistakes, even asking for help when he is lost on the road.
  • Doesn’t dwell on his insecurities, whether at work or home, but is open to speak about it, if needed.
  • Is not shy about his feelings and is not apologetic about his desires.
  • Does worry about his mother and takes time out to keep in touch with her and express his love for her.

  • Is a true gentleman. He is respectful with everyone and will automatically open the door for someone.
  • Knows how to take care of himself and nourish his mind and soul.
  • Is confident of himself and is aware of his emotions. Even if his confidence is shaken, he will keep his control until things really go out of hand.
  • Can cook a couple of dishes really well and may even be famous for a dish or two among friends.
  • Are not obsessed with diets to lose weight, but may opt to eat healthier foods.
  • Have goals for which the work is ongoing. He has a clear purpose for what he is doing.
  • Will not waste time looking for the best parking spot, he is comfortable parking in any reasonable spot without crossing the line.
  • Needs to have a pet dog at home.
  • Feels that his daughter has made him a complete man.
  • Writes down the grocery list in a paper as he doesn’t prefer to pore over his phone in the supermarket.
  • Is witty and his sense of humour is legendary.
  • Knows just how to protect his family in case an intruder gets into the house.
  • Does not shy away from demanding some tender loving care when he is feeling under the weather.
  • Is not hesitant to cry and show his tears.
  • Is completely involved in the affairs of his children’s school and social needs.
  • Is true to himself and always listens to his gut and follows it through. He is also not afraid to consult others when he is in doubt.


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