What Does It Mean To ‘Be A Man’? Men And Boys Aged 5-50 Define Masculinity In Powerful Viral Video

What Does It Mean To ‘Be A Man’? Men And Boys Aged 5-50 Define Masculinity In Powerful Viral Video

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Throughout their lives men and boys are told to ‘be a man’ or to ‘man up’. Often this term is used at during difficult times or when when they are showing vulnerability, but what exactly does it mean to ‘be a man’?

Cut.com asked men and boys aged between 5 and 50 what it means to “be a man” in a powerful word association video that has gone viral.

Some had a positive relationship with the phrase, associating it with being “awesome” or bring a “hero”. But others recoiled when they heard the phrase, questioning the impact that enforced masculinity has on young men.

“It took me a while to learn what that meant,” explains a 49-year-old man as the video begins.

Here’s what the contentious phrase means to 5-50:

  • 5-year-old: “Act tough.”
  • 7-year-old: “I don’t know what you mean by that.”
  • 15-year-old: “I think it’s kind of sexist… because there are strong women as well.”
  • 17-year-old: “It’s kind of sexist, because if you aren’t being a man it’s kind of saying you’re being a woman in a way too.”
  • 20-year-old: “Focused: To be a man you need to be focussed and strong, and have a good understanding of the world around you so you can be a better person”
  • 21-year-old: “Misleading: I’ve learned that being a man doesn’t mean to shut out your feelings, it’s to embrace them.”
  • 24-year-old: “Someone who can be a hero to someone.”
  • 29-year-old: “Bullshit. What does that even mean? That’s such a vague term ‘be a man’. You know what? Classically, men have beat the sh*t out of women, that’s what they’ve done. And so that’s not the kind of man I want to be.”
  • 33-year-old: “Pump some iron.”
  • 35-year-old: “There’s not real definition of what that is ‘to be a man’. But there’s an assumption when someone says it like that that there is a vert clear definition of what men should be.”
  • 39-year-old: “Who defines what a man is? We all have to walk our own paths. What I consider to make me a man may not be what makes you a man.”
  • 49-year-old: “Honesty. Being true to yourself, your surroundings, the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you love.”
  • 50-year-old: “Be strong, don’t let someone push you around and… be kind to women.”

For more videos visit Cut.com’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

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