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#126917 - 05/06/04 11:22 PM Measure of a Man (here it is)
yesac76 Offline

Registered: 03/23/04
Posts: 508
Loc: Idaho
Measure of a Man
by Casey Sievers

We live in a multifaceted world. Asking a question usually leads to numerous

other questions. Black and white has now become shades of gray. In olden days, sex

roles were clear. Men would tend the fields, women would cook, keep house, and raise

the children. Try telling a woman today her place is in the kitchen, and after she

pummels you, you will discover how much times have changed.

Men are in a tough spot. We are constantly being hammered by opposing views

on whom and what we should be. The old gender roles are dissolving, and we men have

to find a way to fit into this new world. I found an interesting quote on men.

“A man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a

ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance an account, build a wall, set a bone,

comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze

a problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently,

die gallantly. Specialization is for insects” (Long, paragraph 10).

How are we supposed to live up to all of these things? Are we supposed to be

everything to everyone? It is very demanding and strenuous to figure out our place today.

What does it mean to be a man in today’s society?

What is a man? It is defined as “an adult male” (Man). That tells me nothing I

did not already know. Okay, men have testosterone in high levels. “Testosterone is

necessary in the fetus for the development of male external genitalia” (Testosterone).

Okay, that tells what hormone makes a man, but we are more than just a product of

testosterone. We have emotions, families, and body images, among many other things.

Men, like women, have emotions, but men are conditioned to hide their emotions.

We are only supposed to show anger and joy, never any deep or significant feelings. It is

seen as unmanly to cry. I asked friends I have made on the internet about what it means

to be a man today. One answered, “A man is comfortable with who he is, and it doesn’t

matter what anybody thinks about him crying or anything else” (MikeNY). Another man

replied, “To me, ‘masculine’ is… being a decent and kind man. It is someone who knows

their beliefs, and acts on them always, even if it not the popular thing to do. Someone

who does not feel pressure to cry and be a ‘sensitive’ man, but is not bothered if he has

to” (Leosha).

When men do cry, people tend to remember it. While researching for this paper, I

picked up a book called Sentimental Men. In its introduction, it talks about former

President George Bush. It says, “Bush is a ‘frequent weeper’, quoting Barbara Bush’s

admission that ‘touching, poignant things’ bring ‘tears to the eyes’ of her husband…..

It is clear that Bush’s tears are ‘surprising’ because sentimentality and the public display

of emotion are conventionally seen as feminine characteristics” (Chapman and Hendler

1). Is it not amazing how a man crying is always equated to a feminine action?

“Most men have been socialized to view crying as a sign of weakness. It is an act

that symbolizes an inherent lack of self-control, which they expect in women and ridicule

in men. This is simply not true” (Williams, 8).

“Crying is not thought to be an acceptable behavior for men in our culture

because it is believed that real men ought to conceal their vulnerability. As a result, men

cry only 20 percent as often as women, which may partly explain why they are more

prone to stress-related illness. To hide their sensitivity, instead of crying, men are more

encouraged to demonstrate the emotion of anger, which allows them to rip with

aggression” (Carle).

“ From the time I was little I, like most men, was taught not to cry for a number

of reasons. I was brought up to be tough and had a notion it was a feminine characteristic

and seen as a sign of weakness to shed tears. I learned that if you did in fact break down

and cry, you had better have a good reason, or else you would be subjected to some

serious name-calling. This was an extremely difficult thing for someone as emotional

and eccentric as myself with which to deal…. Even though I have shown to some lady

friends I can be ‘in touch with my inner-most feelings,’ there is no way I am willing to

let go in front of my boys. It’s just not right. It is an unwritten rule that unless something

serious or traumatic has happened, guys who cry are wimps. One of the few exceptions

to this rule can be found in the world of sports. When a famous sports figure retires,

wins or loses a big game, or gives an interview that touches on a personal subject, we

find it admirable. This is quite rare and only accepted if the athlete is a bad-ass like

Brett Favre or Reggie Miller. All in all, guys don’t cry - chicks do” (Novak). Talk about

typical male rhetoric!

The most important job a man can ever have is being a husband and father.

“Being a husband is a whole-time job. That is why so many husbands fail. They cannot

give their entire attention to it” (Bennett). “Being a husband is the easiest job in the

world. It is also the most empowering. Most rewarding. Most satisfying. Most

stabilizing. Most frightening. All it requires is unconditional love” (Collins paragraph 23-26).

When I asked my internet friends about being a husband, I got many responses..

“Being a good husband. Putting the bond between the two of you before her and

your wants. To put the needs first. To be yourself, to allow them to be themselves. Their

is no shame in being a good partner. That means allowing them to help you when you

need it, and helping them when they need it. It is doing a million little things to show you

care, without the expectation of anything in return. It is going to the store to buy the blue

box of tampons with the yellow swoosh. It is making dinner and doing the dishes. It is

taking out the garbage when it is full, not waiting to be asked… It comes down to taking

care of yourself and your family, whole-heartedly” (Bill_1965).
Ideally, being a husband leads to being a father. Fatherhood is a daunting task.
Suddenly, you are in charge of a crying little bundle of wet diapers and drool. This tiny
life is dependent on you for its survival and happiness.
Seeing your child for the first time is a very emotional experience. “I was
holding him less than a minute after he was born,” says John Sinclair, a new father. “And
that’s when I got emotional. That’s when it hit me. I couldn’t even talk for about five
minutes because I knew if I did I would start crying” (Pitman 12).
The beauty of birth is not inclusive to one society. “It was the first time that I saw
her. This was the moment that added a new dimension to my life. The world seemed to
stand still, I was standing in front of my own newly born daughter. I had become a father.
She was sleeping and the calmness on her face was talking to me... That was the very
moment I realized that a lot more responsibilities are waiting for me in the times to
come. Life had taken a new turn, a goodbye to boyhood and a welcome to a more mature
group of men known as fathers,” recalls Shameel Sani (Sani).
Seeing the beauty of birth is one thing. Raising your child to be a healthy adult is
another thing entirely.
“Being a father is the greatest measure and greatest reward. Being a man is taking
care of that child with your whole being: heart, body, and soul. Heart - to love your
children and show them that and have them be able to feel it. Body - … being there for
them when they need it, not just you or them wanting it. Soul - the total dedication of
yourself to take care of the children for their well-being. It is making the connection to
your child through every day things: feeding your child and changing diapers, talking
with them about their day and helping them with their homework, teaching them the
difference between right and wrong without passing on your own personal prejudices, and
disciplining them when they need it and teaching them so they don’t” (Bill_1965).
Also, “Being a father also means participating in your children’s lives at a
meaningful level, and that is not taking them to team sports and watching from the
sides. It is finding things to do together where they can talk to you and learn from you”
(Greenman 6).
Body image is becoming an ever-increasing problem with men. Men are now,
according to the media, supposed to be buff, with six-pack abs. “Being a man these days
seems, well, an awful lot like being a woman. For men, more than ever, looks count. In
Vogue and Men’s Health alike, modern-day Adonises sell everything from protein
powder to Armani cologne. They’ve got washboard abs, silky skin, and nipples so erect
they cast shadows” (Potter 3). Times for us men are changing fast. “Not so long ago, the
manliest in popular culture were burly, barrel-chested, even hairy” (Potter 3).
Many men are taking extreme measures to live up to the new version of the
perfect man. “New figures show that the market amongst young men is bigger than ever;
it has doubled in the last five years” (Waghorn 1). Some men are even resorting to
Phalloplasty. “Phalloplasty is the surgical enlargement of the penis” (Pfannenstein 1).
Like all surgeries, plastic surgery has risks, including infection, bleeding, swelling,
bruising, and scars (Hicks). Who would want to risk their member to a surgeons knife?
Also, men take steroids to build their muscles. “Often, the muscular perfection
shown in…. magazines can only be achieved by taking steroids. Even though steroids
can cause testicular shrinking and kidney and liver failure,… about 83,000... mostly
young men…reported using steroids at least once” (McCarthy 3).
“Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids are man-made substances related to male sex
hormones. … These drugs are available legally only with a pre>
"You live it or lie it" Metallica

#126918 - 05/08/04 12:19 AM Re: Measure of a Man (here it is)
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I'm a bit overweight, grey and receding on top, scraggy grey beard, oily fingernails most of the time, I fart in bed and watch TV with my feet on the coffee table while drinking beer from the bottle.

Am I going to change ? "the hell I am !"

Am I happy ? "oh yes !"

Dave ;\)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#126919 - 05/08/04 04:08 PM Re: Measure of a Man (here it is)
crisispoint Offline

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts

The measure of a man is how compassionate and strong he is. The strength is tempered by the compassion and the compassion is a measure of his strength.

It takes strength to do what must be done, to help when no one else will, to speak out when others are silent, to act when no one else is.

It takes compassion to reach out to those who need it and may not be deserving, to trust your fellow humans, to love without putting limits or conditions, to live by sharing, to heal others when there's no return on the investment.

Strength is not lashing out in anger, destruction for destruction's sake, fighting for the sake of fighting, acting stupidly because of other's impressions of you.

Compassion is not loving everyone until you are hurt, being a doormat, or taking responability for other's mistakes.

Am I a man?


Are we not all Men?



Peace and love,


There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

#126920 - 05/20/04 07:39 AM Re: Measure of a Man (here it is)
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
You did it good casey, congratulation. I hope you got a good grade. Thank you for sharing it.


Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

#126921 - 05/20/04 11:54 AM Re: Measure of a Man (here it is)
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA

This is very good. Thought provoking. You obviously did a lot of good work.

I think we all end up defining what it means to be a man for ourselves. As you show very clearly, society has no clue what it wants from us. To ask us to be "everything" is no help in definition.

You've set me thinking about the questions, now. I know men who are not husbands, not fathers, yet I would not hesitate to call them good men. The qualities I admire in men, like honesty, strength, and compassion, I admire also in women and even in children. I think the unique thing in how I measure a man is how well he navigates this cyclone of confusing, conflicting standards while continuing to show those qualities and live in accordance with his own beliefs.

Gotta grab some caffeine! Thanks for kicking my brain into gear this morning.


"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse


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