There’s a lot written about the nature of men. A lot is written about what qualities make a man a man. It feels as if the ancient authors did not know the best theme and constantly practiced in their understanding of the male essence. The Bible, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Icelandic sagas are all these ancient literary works, including the discovery of Ali and the theme of masculinity, and talked about how to achieve it. In the Bible, men make men obedient to God’s will. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, heroes are judged by their cunning and their ability to possess weapons in battle. In Icelandic sagas, men deserve their right to be called men because of the respect of the male community.
It’s a timeless question.
“What does it mean to be a man?” – this question will occupy mankind in all centuries. Our blog is not the first and not the last trying to answer this question. Everyone, whoever you ask, will name you different qualities and activities inherent in men – it all depends on whom you ask. Someone will mention diligence, someone – military service, the ability to play football, good abs, the ability to drink a lot, the number of women with whom he slept – all have their own ideas about masculinity. Even if we put all these features together, we still don’t get a complete portrait of a man, and more abstract reasoning about what is a man is confusing at all. The word “masculinity” already scares away: it sounds too abstract.
I remember that in geometry classes we were taught to prove theorems by the method “from the contrary”, assuming that the statement contained in the theorem is not true. We will do the same today with the concept of a man. We will look at what no man should be, and what will result in him to lose a proud status of man. It is hard to get through the maze of human stereotypes and cut down rotten trees from them, which are useless, but we will try.
Being a victim means not being a man
Male origin in all world cultures from the century was associated with activity and initiative. Men show will, act, do and create. That is exactly what he should do. The word “victim”, on the contrary, contains a semantic shade of passivity, dependence on the will of circumstances. In a progressive society with an increasingly tolerant attitude in our heads, the victim becomes almost the main member of the society, whom everyone supports, encourages, claps on the shoulder, lifts from the floor, shakes off and leads forward by the hand. People who are unlucky or who have failed because of their own fault are beginning to be elevated to the rank of saints, even though they have done nothing meaningful or useful in this life. Why is this happening? Because they play the role of victims and they need sympathy. This is not a male position. A man can support the weak, but if he has chosen the role of a victim (or is forced to play this role and accepts it), he kills the man. When a man refuses to acknowledge and, most importantly, to correct his mistakes, he loses part of his male identity. When a man shows complete obedience to the circumstances and is not looking for a way to help himself, why is he called a man?
The victim’s comfortable role
My grandparents grew up during the war. They were starving, undernourished, and all the children in their families had one pair of shoes that everyone wore as needed. What did these people do? Have they grown up telling these stories to everyone they met and crossed so that they would be sorry and warmed up, and if they were lucky, would they buy them new shoes? No. They learned how to run a farm, how to use their supplies rationally, and how to take care of things. These people have learned to overcome hardships and obstacles and to take only the best from difficult situations. This is what we have to do, not to look for reasons to feel sorry for ourselves.
Recently I was hanging out at a party where there was a lot of people: my friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends – a huge pile of people. One of the guys in attendance recently got off the antidepressants and in the middle of a party wanted to get attention. What did he do? He cried loudly, how bad his life was, how empty and meaningless it was, and how tired he was. Of course, dude drank, not many people would have dared to behave like that. What’s the point of the example? Yes, he drew attention to himself. Yes, the girls felt sorry for him. How did the men at the party feel about this guy now? With bitter irony, with condescension, with the understanding that dealing with this guy is not worth it. Why not? Because normal types don’t behave like that. If you treat this behavior calmly, it only generates passivity and encourages constant inaction.
Passivity, inaction, helplessness: no matter how masculine you think you are, I doubt you would want to use any of these words to describe yourself. Give up the worldview of the victim in any of these forms. Try the role of the victim on yourself and think about whether it can be pleasant and what its price is. It will turn you into a helpless chip swinging on the waves of fate and surrounded by hostile external forces.
Perhaps if men had the trouble to look carefully at the role of the victim as the opposite of masculinity, they would have realized how true the traditional, old-school idea of a man is. Alternatively, you can stop feeling sorry for yourself first.