Opinion: Be a man?

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

What does it mean to be a man? To say you are a man, or to act like a man? There are different kinds of men: Good men, great men, wise men and terrible men. Yes, terrible men — men that still achieve things in their lives with different morals than most, but still with the same merit.

I used to question my own manhood, unsure if I were a man or still just a boy. I would wonder if I had truly achieved becoming a man. I wondered if what I was taught a man should do or be was determined in part by patriarchal societies from the past that have made their ways into our social norms. But now I know I am a man.

I know I am a man because I have cried, from both emotional and physical pain. I know I am a man because I have an interest in things not fitted toward my stereotype as a young black male and don’t allow others to stop me from enjoying and advancing. But most importantly, I know I am a man because I will let a woman pay the bill if she wants, because I open doors for both ladies and gentlemen and I don’t fear that my future wife may make more money than I. Our marriage will be a partnership, a couple with no leader.

I see now the gender lines of men and women are intertwined with one another, that both have roles to provide in some ways that are different, and some that are the same if not very similar. But not all men may agree with me.

To be a man also means relinquishing your pride. Pride is a deadly sin, and through healthy doses can give you enough self-confidence to believe you are capable of anything, too much will begin to make that man collapse under his ever-growing ego. To be a man means you are able to do whatever you can for others, or to be yourself without being prevented by embarrassment or emasculation.

If a woman is stronger, smarter, taller or more successful than a man, should he feel emasculated? If a man needs help, as all things do, does he take what is offered to him from others? Or does he refuse and try to find another way without anyone’s help, jeopardizing his mission and responsibility? Is it manly then, or is it just immature?

At times, we all fall down and need to get back up. But to be a man or a woman (and not a stubborn one), we must take the hand that is offered to us to help us up, no matter how much it proves we are vulnerable. Appreciate the help that is offered to you now. It may hurt your ego to accept the help, but if you are unable to finish a goal you needed to, it will be even harder to go looking for that help when it was right in your face before.