Recently, two scenarios about the future were made by my nearest and dearest and I couldn’t help but think how incorrect these backdated ideas were.
Scenario 1: When discussing my future career, a family member made an argument for why I should be invested in a company such as Google or Facebook. Why? Because I could work my way up the ladder, embed myself in the company and gain a higher salary. Their confidence in me was endearing, but what followed was less so. They reenforced their point by stating that my “wife” would absolutely encourage this. “Why wouldn’t she?” was the feeling at the dinner table. Yet, as I have made clear to my entire family in the past, I will never have a wife. In fact I think my future husband may not take to kindly to the prospect of me having a wife. So yes, the ignorance surrounding my sexuality reared it’s head, but hey, at least I’ll be successful.
Scenario 2: Another discussion, this one I was eavesdropping on. As family members discussed a child without a father. How “totally fine” it’ll be for this child to grow up without a “strong male figure”. These were the exact words uttered and they stung as they slapped my face. I spend a lot of my free time with the aforementioned child and plan to be in their life throughout the next few decades. But yea sure, I’m not a strong male figure.
Big picture, there are a number of reasons why the thought process behind these two scenarios is flawed but on a personal level they’re just insulting. To categorise me as a weak man incapable of setting a good example or leading a “normal” tells me that you seriously misunderstand who I am as a man.
Of late I think, what is the true measure of a man? We have a culture which, if we allow it, dictates how we think and act. So it is somewhat forgivable that many still believe in these ideals. However, as someone who spent his teen years questioning his masculinity daily, I have my own idea of what it means to be a man. What I have found is that the majority of traits are not gender specific.
Compassionate, hard working, respectful, supportive, all these qualities make up the pillar in which I stand upon. Yet it seems this pillar is as insecure as I am. For when I think of my own masculinity and compare it to societal norms, I am scared. Scared that by defying the box in which I was put in, I am not even thought of when it comes to the notion of what is a man.