Aren’t you all lucky; two post in one day! Not only that, but two days in a row of this. I was unhappy with the first post so I’ve been thinking about what to write about that might have a little more tofu to it (yes, I did that. I replaced the word “meat” with a vegan version). I have come across a few posts and memes and other random internet stupidity questioning people’s manliness because they do or believe certain things. I don’t let it get to me much, but it is a little annoying and I thought I’d write about manliness and what it means to me and why people get it wrong and why I’m right.
I guess I will start with “the vegan thing” and the many times I’m told I’m a wuss or a “girly man” or whatever other name the knuckledraggers come up with because of my diet choice. I guess it makes me less manly because I don’t want to kill an animal for my own pleasure. I get that historically the man was the hunter and the female the gatherer, but if we used history to “prove” manliness and other non-quantitive things, wouldn’t sitting in front of a tv eating meat that someone else killed be anti-manly? Honestly I find it laughable that someone would equate eating lots of meat with manliness, especially because that meat was raised in captivity, slaughtered systematically (by someone else) and transported to your grocery store. I guess picking up the shrunk wrapped carcass, putting it in a cart and paying for it takes a lot of courage and cunning. I’m not offended that someone is so offended by my choice to not eat meat that they feel the need to question my manhood, I find it comical and sad. Sad that any form of compassion is equated with weakness or “unmanliness”.
Talking about mental illness and asking for help is another favourite of “Manly Men” out there in internet land. Suffering in silence and being ashamed of your every thought is apparently a more desirable trait than openly dealing with it and trying to get help to get better. Logic is not always prevalent in these conversations it seems. Maybe everyone should be required by law to write these things out on paper and read it back to themselves. Give your head a shake people. Emotion is a trait of ALL humans and not something to be afraid or ashamed of. Yes, you do need to control it and let it out in constructive and healthy ways (something I struggle greatly with), but you still need to express it. Now to turn this around a little; helping those who are suffering and showing compassion to those who can’t repay it seem to be on that same list of “un-manly” things. I’ve been called a “pinko”, a “fag”, a “bleeding heart wuss” among other names because I have a view that we are all human and therefore all need compassion; even when we don’t deserve it. Weird, there is that word again: compassion.
Showing compassion seems to be seen as less-than manly, yet it takes far more courage to act and help those who can’t pay you back than it does to do nothing and ignore the hurting world around you. I think what I’m saying is that if compassion is weakness than I want to be the weakest of all.