The Measure of a Man and His Masculinity

July 6, 2017

I once read a poem called “The Measure of a Man” in a friends house, it read:

Not – How did he die? But – How did he live?
Not – What did he gain? But – What did he give?

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Not – What was his station? But – had he a heart?
And – How did he play his God-given part?

Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

Not – What was his church? Not – What was his creed?
But – Had he befriended those really in need?

Not – What did the sketch in the newspaper say?
But – How many were sorry when he passed away?

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

~ Anonymous

I feel that this poem clearly relates more to the generality of the term man as in human. But it got me thinking, what is the true measure of a masculine man? What is it that makes a man a man and fits how we perceive masculinity?

You rarely hear the word “masculine” and “gay” or “bisexual” falling into the same descriptors of a man. I believe society sees the gay male as a woman in a male’s body, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Then you have the bisexual male, which neither fits the heterosexual definition of a man nor the gay definition of a man.

In truth, the masculinity of a man is characterized by the man himself, how he behaves and how he reacts and has very little to do with his sexual orientation. I know… you’re shocked aren’t you? I was too. If you stop to truly think about it though, the best way to look at how masculine a man is is to take someone you’ve never met and observe them for a few moments.

Synonyms for masculine might be muscular, chiseled, ruggedness and driven. These are all key points on how we as a society view what a man is. A man could have some feminine qualities, but if the man is strong willed and strives to be the best at whatever he does, he may be viewed as masculine. We as a society are constantly changing and given the last 100 years, I believe we must also change how we define masculine. Just because a man is gay, bisexual or straight does not define how masculine he is. His sexual orientation has nothing to do with how masculine he is.

This is truly key though: In this world, we need the feminine and the masculine, they balance each other. A feminine female or male will generally be attracted to a masculine male or female. That’s right, both genders have the capability of being masculine or feminine, but we need that balance. We seek it.

These points, however, might define how masculine someone is:

  1. Strong and self-confident. Do you walk strong? Do you have the posture and control of an alpha male? Or do you walk with slouched shoulders and keep your head down as if you are a slave to your life?
  2. Non-emotional. Do you become a sobbing mess when someone hurts your feelings? Or do you have thicker skin and can take the punches, even when they hurt?
  3. Aggressive. Are you afraid of approaching someone? Do you complain about the lack of opportunity that the world has thrown at you or do you take charge and plow through the bad and the good?
  4. Competitive. Do you try to improve yourself each day, if only a little? Or do you give up when life throws you a curve ball?

A feminine person wants a masculine person. Someone that can be dominant, it’s part of our biological construct. Now, of course, there are a million shades of gray in between. I myself am attracted to self-confidence, strength, passion and a fit lifestyle. But I need undertones of femininity in those threads.

It’s complicated. As is our evolution of how we define what is masculine.

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