“Dominant men have never looked so dull and dreary as they do today. During most of history, dominant men have been colorful and flamboyant, such as American Indian chiefs with their feathered headdresses and Hindu maharajas decked out in silks and diamonds. Throughout the animal kingdom males tend to be more colorful and accessorized than females – think of peacocks’ tails and lions’ manes.”
– Yuval Harari – Sapiens
It is very interesting that many of my acquaintances think that two of my best friends are homosexual. They are not, and it wouldn’t matter if they were, but the fact that people immediately think so is most unfortunate for all humans.
They are caring and gregarious, they wear colorful clothes, put effort into how they look and smell, and are both culturally very attractive human beings.
They must be…Gay!
How disheartening since for almost all of human history they would have been more manly than any of us.
Being a man is not about not being gay.
In fact, naturally being a man just means you have an X and Y chromosome; beyond that not much is unnatural. It is our culture that defines manliness. And right now, we tend to define it as heterosexual, somber, quiet, reserved, hardworking, and smart, but not too smart.
Yet, the men who believe in these principles conjured from myths passed down through cultures and from father to son fail to realize that many great men in human history, especially in ancient Greece, (ironically, a culture we romanticize to exude manliness) were homosexual, and most great men in human history were far more flamboyant than most males today.
As males, let’s stop building small-minded archetypes of what a male should be and then try to shove every male inside that box.
Let’s instead work to redefine what manliness is and create a more fluid and open appreciation for what it is to be a man.
Can you be caring and strong?
Can you be outgoing when needed and still reserved and mysterious in the right moments?
Can you be protecting and still accepting?
Can you wear more than two colors?
Can you be relentless and intelligent?
Can you move above racism, sexism, and the persecution of different religious belief systems and sexual inclinations?
Can you love both women and men, differently or the same?
The list above has nothing to do with biology or nature. It has to do with moving human beings forward, and it is time for men to grow up…
by looking backward to understand where we came from and why we believe what we believe.
by being present and seeking to really understand ourselves before judging others.
and by looking to the future so that we leave the next generations with a broader definition of what it means to be a man.