Listening to how some males talk you might think that the opposite of being a “real” man is being a “woman”! However, such a view is another example of discriminatory thinking. How so?
In August 1588 the English thought that the Spanish were about to invade. Queen Elizabeth I was worried. She dressed herself in battle armour, leapt onto a horse and rode among her soldiers. She wanted to deliver a powerful speech to encourage them to fight for their beloved England as well as for her as their Queen. She had a problem though … she was not a man! Traditionally it was men, kings, who led their army into battle, not women! Elizabeth cleverly cut through this tradition by boldly declaring, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a King of England too!” The men cheered, the Spanish never turned up and Elizabeth established herself as a warrior King… err … I mean Queen!
This macho man thinking, that strong = man and weak = woman, comes straight out of male dominated warrior culture. Queen Elizabeth I knew it and ducked around it with clever words. So when today’s macho men insult other men by calling them “women” or “girls”, they are really saying that at the opposite of being strong, being “manly”, is to be like a woman, but is such thinking accurate? No, it is not!
The opposite of a man is a boy, not a woman.
Being a “real” man is not demonstrated through participation in some supposedly tough, macho act like train surfing, which is actually more a demonstration of an inability to use good judgment. Being a “real” man involves leaving behind the thinking and behaviours that characterise a child.
|Characteristics of a boy||Characteristics of a mature man|
|Always centred on his own needs and wants||Thoughtful about other people’s needs as well as his own|
|Let’s his emotions rule his behaviour||Has his emotions under control|
|Always focused on having fun||Cares for his responsibilities, keeps a balanced view of recreation</font|
What do you think are the characteristics of a “real man”? Do the same characteristics apply to “real women”?