A person, woman, me – comes here
To meet a group of men
Men, the people she spends the least time with
The people she knows the least
Thinking she will have much to teach them about male stereotypes, about what is learnt and inherent, about the performance of masculinity, about finding the personality underneath…
She asks them if they, in turn, will teach her how to be a man. How to look, think, speak, walk, feel and do – like a man.
She wasn’t sure what they would show her.
She knew they could be all the things she had in her head-
And so they may well teach her that to be a man
You have to be intimidating
To be a hooligan
To be aggressive
To be cocky
Are men usually dominant and loud?
Should men be able to cry in public?
Do men make good leaders?
Are men totally different from women?
What makes a man?
END TEXT/Letter to the men
I asked you, what makes a man?
And you answered with so much more.
I asked you to teach me how to be a man,
And what you have taught me is so much bigger.
I asked you if I could cross a border
The line between man and woman
And you asked, is it even there at all?
I want you to know that some of the conversations we’ve had have been more open than the many I have tried to have on this topic.
It’s funny how you have to cross a border to find home.
I asked, you gave. You gave heart, you gave soul, you gave spirit, you gave attention, and you gave laughter – I asked of you –
And amazingly, you asked right back.
For the first time I thought about the positive qualities of what we know as masculinity – confidence, hard work, protecting, strength, assertiveness.
I questioned whether I had those qualities.
You made me think about potential, yours and mine.
We were exploring masculinity, sure.
But we were exploring life, our experiences.
And those are different.
I don’t personally think that’s down to our gender.
We’re different because everyone is.
I think we celebrated that.
For all our differences, we have a big thing in common-
A willingness to take people for who they are, not how we perceive them.
And that speaks volumes.
That discovery is better than any answers I thought I’d find.