The 19th of November was International Men’s Day. [Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and Pete procrastinated on posting it until now.] Lately, I’ve been thinking about men and the tight boxes and role models that many men have been raised with and are forced into. Or the roles they adopted as they knew of nothing else.
Men of my generation (I’m 46) have faced a lot of a expectations: to be tough, strong, big, rationale, non-emotional, non-expressive, non-sensitive, practical, masculine, macho and as people who can take it all. I have seen many men in my workshops and in my life who have suffered from these narrow definitions of what it is to be a man. I have seen men who are sensitive, soft, feminine, emotional. Men who cry easily and had been told to hide it. Men who feel pain or shame which they think they should hide because parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, neighbors, other kids had told them to do so.
I celebrate men who are what they want to be. Men who say that they don’t need to fit into anyone’s box. Men who allow themselves to cry out of sadness and happiness. Men who allow themselves to love, yell, hug and dance. I celebrate men who talk about their fears, shame, feelings, dreams, joy and excitement. Men who tell their friends that they love them. Men who support others–men, women and everyone. [And men who procrasinate in posting blogs? 😉 ]
As a mother of a boy–who will be legally a man in just a couple years–I feel hope. He was born in 2002, a time when boys had more space to express themselves and more space to be who they are. Nowadays, I think parents, educators, decision-makers and grandparents are more aware and more able to treat kids as individuals. The old role models and traditional expectations are more often being questioned. As I think they should be!
My son enjoyed wearing red and pink, especially when he was younger. He cries out of sadness–and sometimes out of anger. He is expressive and emotional. He shouts at me and he also tells me that he loves me and that I’m important to him. He talks about his fears and about his wish to fit in.
I am happy that times are changing. Men have more space to express themselves and be whatever they want to be. Women do as well. And so does anyone who wants to define themselves as however they want to define themselves.
I appreciate you men who dare to be open, vulnerable and real.
Thank you Pete, Niilo, Jakob, Albrecht, Michael K, Michaek S, Michael A, Andrew K, Andrew G, Micha, Marko, Tony, Sasha, Jouni, Florent, Jani, Tuomas, Toni, Arjen, Simon, Sandro, Ben, Tobi, Sean, Christopher, Chris, Christian, Firdoz, Sami S, Sami N, Andreas, Florent, Thorsten, Soren, Ulrich, Lauri, Scott, Martin, Daniel, Maarten, Hardy, Remco. And many, many others.