Why This Matters to Me - The Past
I always felt like I had to chase masculinity. I never quite knew what people meant when they said, “be a man.” Masculinity has taken on so many different phases and meanings for me that the definition is as elusive as it is camouflaged.
First, it was “men are smart.” Next, it was “men are strong.” Then, “men dress well.” Finally, “a man always provides.” It dawned on me that I didn’t imagine any of these phases on my own — they are a product of culture, as we all are. Maybe eMarketer was right. Perhaps the Great Recession triggered an identity shift away from a straightforward career path and the ability to be a breadwinner.
Men my age are experiencing emerging adulthood in the #MeToo era. Manhood has traditionally found its meaning in its relationship to womanhood. And right now, popular culture is pointing out that we’ve had it all wrong for a while. On one hand, we’ve got this tug-of-war of knowing what it means to “be a man,” and moving away from traditional gender roles and trying to balance adult life in the other.