Defining Masculinity. Dads, how do you approach this?
During the initial pregnancy phase I was always under the impression that we would end up with a beautiful baby girl. I’m not sure if this was a hunch, a feeling, or perhaps my inner self-doubt hoping for the opposite sex.
To have a girl would mean that a large percentage of so-called feminine qualities would be bestowed by my better half. In the end I was blessed enough to be given twin boys and would not change that for world, yet it does mean I often have an inner struggles regarding my projections of masculinity.
I don’t think I’m a stereotypical definition of old-school masculinity; I always hated fighting, I’ve no practical skills and no real aptitude for any pecking order showdowns. I didn’t want my definition of being a ‘man’ to make the boys appear ‘weak’, or be subject to making them ‘soft’. Last year while listening to a TED Talk podcast I stumbled across an episode which showcased a presentation by Justin Baldoni entitled “Why I’m done trying to be man enough”. The grounding of the presentation is firmly based around my exact fears and I felt he tackled the subject very well.
I’ve made a point of bookmarking the presentation because I wanted to sit the boys down when they are old enough to understand and ask them to give it a watch.
Our twins’ views on masculinity won’t just be shaped by myself. They will have scripts provided by a changing society, they will take influence from their friends and peers. And they also have Uncles, Grandparents and Great Grandparents which provide a diverse view on the role of the male.
At the end of the day I just want them to know it’s perfectly fine to talk about anything, no matter how deep the topic may be. My role, and the role of family and friends is to make sure that when they do open up they feel safe, understood and respected. They won’t be less of a man for doing so.