What Does It Mean to Be a Man?
What does it mean to be a man? And, how does a boy learn to be a man? Who tells him what it means to be a man? His father? Or, mother? Maybe, a grandparent or friend? Or does it just happen by osmosis? Here are some common imagines of what it means to be a man in America.
The Strong, Silent-Type
For many years,the epitome of the American man was the Marlboro Man; the strong, silent-type who seemingly has everything under control.
Rebel Without a Cause
Passive, Aggressive Non-Conformist
Jimmy Dean, Fonzie and Joe Cool are examples of an ideal image for the American man. They are passive, aggressive non-conformists who are idolized by others for being calm, cool and collected and living outside the status quo.
A third image of the ideal male figure is the player. Ripped body with six pack abs, this hunk knocks the ladies out with his fine look and smooth moves.
The superstar athlete is another common vision of the ideal American male figure. Leading the home team to the winner's circle, he or she gives folks in towns both large and little reason to forget their everyday struggles.
A more traditional image of the American man is as the breadwinner. He faithfully goes to work everyday and provides for himself and his family. He does not sit around and wait for handouts, but relies on his own hands to make his living.
Father Knows Best
One of the two most important images of what it means to be a real man is that of a faithful father. The man who puts aside his own personal interests to pay attention to and promote the welfare of his children is both desirable and admirable.
If married, the real man loves his wife sacrificially. He puts the interests of his spuse above his own and pays close attention to her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. He listens intently to her heart and heartaches without trying to fix her. He never does anything that will bring her disgrace or dishonor.
Spiritual Leader of the Family
The most appealing image of a man is as a spiritual leader. He seeks to lead his family to mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.