What does it mean to be a modern man?
Does being a man mean working 9-5 and bringing home the cash for your wife and kids? Does it mean hitting the gym until your body is chiselled? How about growing and grooming that beard until it looks like you’ve put zero effort into making it perfect? Or perhaps it means being a Meninist?
Men are encouraged to fit into this pre-determined stereotype of the strong, brave, emotionless leader who stands up for what he believes in. If men are seen to be anything other than masculine, then they are no longer ‘real men’.Defining masculinity isn’t easy – it’s changed so much in the past 50 years. Perhaps the pressures placed upon men today to be the ‘embodiment of toughness’, the ‘handyman’ or the ‘breadwinner’ contribute to a suicide rate that’s 3½ times that of women.
As part of the Young People’s Festival of Ideas, we’re holding a debate asking ‘What is Masculinity?’ and ‘Who is the Suppressed Majority?’ To spark some debate before the event, we took to the streets to find out what the public thought about issues surrounding masculinity and what it means to be a modern man.Gender isn’t as clear cut as it used to be. Movements like Feminism and LGBT+ Pride all aim to dismantle these established gender roles. When you begin to break it down, ‘being a man’ doesn’t mean anything different to ‘being a woman’, ‘being trans’ or ‘being gay’. Why should your gender define you?
Young People’s Festival of Ideas event ‘The Suppressed Majority’ takes place at the Arnolfini on March 11th 2015. Tickets are free for anyone under 25 but you’ve got to book them!
Are you a modern man, or is there no such thing? As feminism hits popular culture, are men becoming a suppressed majority? Tweet us using the hashtag #YPFoI or let us know via Facebook.
Written originally for Rife Magazine. Images by Kamina Walton.