Sunday, August 1, 2021

Are You Man Enough?

It all started with a TED Talk on "Why I'm done trying to be man enough." Actor, director (and now podcaster and author) Justin Baldoni talked in 2017 about how there are certain expectations of what a man should be, what a man is supposed to be, and that he is tired of that. He says that the definition of masculinity today is broken. While there are good things, there are areas that need to be changed.

I loved how he talked about how the more feminine qualities of men are often discouraged. How men are taught that to be men, they cannot be soft or vulnerable. They cannot admit to their feelings, they cannot feel hurt, they cannot cry, they cannot show weakness. Showing these qualities were automatically being equated with being gay. I loved when he said, "As if being gay makes you less of a man."

Talking about how men are growing up being forced into roles that tend to discourage a more sensitive side of them, about being taught to live up to the stereotypical things that are defined as masculine was a game-changer, especially when he was talking about it openly in ways that are rarely heard of. Sharing his thoughts on how he took a look at himself and how he realized that what he was taught and used to about being a man often meant unconsciously hurting the women in his life as well. That talk led to him writing a book where he goes into this idea even further, asking if he was man enough to do what needs to be done to correct this. This book has also evolved to the podcast called Man Enough, where he talks with his co-hosts and guests about what it means to be a man today. 

There have only been a few episodes so far, but it is a topic that I think deserves more attention. The more I realize that there is so much to be changed, the more I realize that it is also my responsibility to recognize my own acceptance of those stereotypes and figure out how to change them. I have to unlearn some of my own toxic behavior as a woman who was similarly taught that some things are "natural" for men and are therefore acceptable even if they are hurting other people in the process (cheating, for example). I have to reframe my thinking of which things are acceptable or not to men or to women. We should reframe ourselves not as men and women or men vs women but as human beings. 

I know this is a shot in the dark but I would LOVE for BTS to come on their podcast (as I have heard them appear on a podcast before). I read an article on Rolling Stone about how their popularity is helping to redefine masculinity and I have to agree. They are showing that going against the current (and usually) Western definition of masculinity is becoming acceptable globally through their popularity on the world stage. They are men who write songs that tackle their personal feelings and sensitivities, who show their vulnerability. They are men who are always very well-dressed, and wear makeup when they perform on stage, much to the criticism of their haters and appreciation of their fans. While we all know that male celebrities also take care of themselves in similar ways that BTS have been open with (skincare, makeup), this is something that is rarely talked about or admitted. I hate how they are being criticized about things that are actually commonplace but not talked about because it is not a "manly" thing to do.  

It would be great if BTS can talk to Justin Baldoni and his friends about this on the podcast one day if it were in any way possible. I hope it is something that the whole group can participate in (even if they mostly speak in Korean) because I know that they all have something worthwhile to share about this topic. Honestly, when I watch these guys on Run BTS and see how close they are and how they show their affection to one another, I know that a lot of people would call it gay. I cannot deny that many haters call them that. But the fact that they can be that affectionate when most men are not, well that makes me wish for a different world. I would love for more men to be unafraid to show their affections in that way. It would be great if they could talk about that too. 

Would you listen to a podcast about the topic featuring BTS? I definitely would.


No comments

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig