Every era has its own zeitgeist, something that defines the spirit of that particular time in history. I believe ours would have to be inclusivity. But what does that mean for our brutish men?
Living in a society where Cancel Culture is more prevalent than educating the masses, it’s imperative that as a society we cover the survival guide of being a man in 2020.
Since the beginning of time, the very definition of being a man and being masculine has always been simplistic; after all, we do live in The Patriarchy. This simply means that we live in a society where men (i.e. breadwinners, providers, etc.) are at the top of the food chain socially, politically and economically. Having such a role can weigh heavily on one’s psyche, hence the reason why the term ‘toxic masculinity’ was coined by a movement in the late ‘80s called the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement.
We’ve heard this term before…what is it?
The term doesn’t have a specific definition, so one could say it covers masculine traits that negatively impact men and society as a whole through misogyny, homophobia, domineering attributes, sexual entitlement and an overall fear of being vulnerable or weak. For instance, at one point in our lives, we’ve all heard “be a man” or “quit acting like a girl,” directed at a brother who could’ve been openly vulnerable in the presence of an authoritative figure such as a father, uncle, a P.E teacher…or possibly somebody’s mother.
Fundamentally, we have become desensitized to be the basic human ideology of being decent towards one another. Males are conditioned as soon they leave the womb, right? Fathers build excitement over the thought of raising another being in their image by suppressing any opportunity to embrace their femininity and implementing the genetic algorithm for being a man by the standards of a patriarchal society. Real talk, the thought of having a child and having them follow in your footsteps is kind of cute (even if you’d want the child to be their own person), teaching them how to play sports or whatever it is men do for fun, is kind of heartwarming; a good example is Disney movie fathers living vicariously through their sons (High School Musical or A Cinderella Story, anyone?)
As we all know, times are changing. We’ve seen men in skirts, men with immaculate face beats, just men in general showing UP and showing OUT! We love to see it! However, does this mean only queer men are allowed to dress flamboyantly, paint their nails, and you know…embrace their femininity? Does embracing your femininity make you look less woke?
The truth is, your African parents will most likely agree. Be that as it may, you – a person of the 21st century – shouldn’t. Being a man who wears eyeliner doesn’t mean you are a man who is interested in pursuing romantic or physical relationships with other men. Grow up!
I believe men who are somewhat threatened by the idea of wearing a dress and makeup are uncomfortable and afraid of their own sexuality; and I do sympathize with them because we all grew up with strict gender roles, especially when you come from a very traditionalist background, like most of us here in Africa.
For example, American rapper, Waka Flocka made an Instagram post to speak on the Flip the Switch challenge. Waka stated that it seems like ‘being feminine’ is the new wave and urged others to ‘stay woke’.
All I can say is YIKES! The ignorance really jumped out! Can we please just let people live?
I’m here to tell you all that there’s nothing new about men wearing dresses. In fact, some of the most famous black men in Hollywood have done it. The Tyler Perrys, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Kenan Thompson, Jamie Foxx, Jaden Smith…and the list keeps getting longer every day. See? None of these men have had their Black Cards revoked.
So really, what does it mean to be a man in 2020?
The answer is easy like one two three…be yourself, beloved. Since the beginning of our time, society has been in a constant state of evolution and the fight for inclusivity and breaking barriers has never been greater. There’s no real reason as to why we have to keep ingraining toxic homophobic thoughts into our brains to preserve the fragile egos of ignorant men and women alike, right?
Word of advice to anyone who’s been dying to buy that risqué fashion number from the women’s section, rock a bold Fenty lip, or get that full set of acrylics…just do it. This is not naivety speaking. Of course, it will take a long period of time for society to unpack and relearn everything we’ve ever known about individualism; nevertheless, no one in this day and age has the right to stop you.
Besides, we’re here for a good time, not a long time. So go ahead, be a man.