If you were to describe what it means to be a man in one word, what would it be and why?
"If you've got the balls to individuate from the pack and find your true self, I'm sure he's an honorable, noble man of integrity. Don't let society, fears, insecurity or trending social dogmas define your world view. You were created for creativity. The boldest, bravest thing you can do is think outside yourself, lose yourself for others, and that's where you'll find yourself."
Occupation: Controversial Preacher
From: Portland, Oregon
What is masculinity? This question is a core reason why I started this blog and photography project here at The Man Effect. I have been pursuing and exploring this question for years. I love it and the ramifications on my life it has had.
Masculinity, manliness, and the nature of men are not only something that I believe every human should take the time to ponder on. As humans, it is also something we should conceptualize and analyze the belief of how men exist and represent themselves in immediate and extended communities.
Moving forward, I think it would be appropriate to build some foundation of a definition before we proceed with the importance and impact this question can and does have on our lives if we are open to going down this path.
Questioning what it means to be a man is something that I would consider to be a foundation to this website. So, in honor of that, I decided to compile 15 questions about masculinity that I have seen and heard asked often.
Now, before we jump into these questions, I would like to explain how the answers were created. I chose to ask four men who I respect to take time and share their wisdom. The next thing I will do is introduce them so you know a bit about the men behind these words.
I am writing this article for two predominant reasons. One, so I can have a tangible point of reference when I reflect upon this season of life I have been through. Two, the possibility that the lessons I have learned may inspire one person to not give up on life as struggles confront them.
“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going. “ ~ Chantal Sutherland
Have you ever asked yourself the question before, “Why is mental health important?” I have, and this is a topic that western society seems to be discussing and exploring more, due to the ramifications of depression, suicide, and other mental hurdles that many are experiencing.
With the help of social media, I have seen more and more pockets in the interwebs where people are reaching out for help and doing their best to survive in the darkness. It could be a Facebook group or a sub-Reddit but I have observed many outcries for help.
Life, it likes to do this thing where it challenges everything that you believe and dream of. You can say it is the universe, god, or a spiritual entity, but at the end of the day, the source of friction that you believe is delivering this to your doorstep does not really change the amount of challenge that every human is confronted with.
Years ago I had taken it upon myself to learn how to craft my own wooden furniture. I spent hours online looking at designs and styles I loved, watched YouTube videos, and bought books on the topic. Finally, I decided on my first project and proceeded to start the arduous scary process of doing something for the first time.
I drove around until I found some wooden pallets in a dumpster or scavenged Craigslist for any free lumber that was posted. After accumulating a mountain of wood and a decent amount of frustration trying to pull the pallets apart, I was then launched into the phase of the project that slowly began to change my life. Articulating my vision. Back in Step 2 I briefly touch on the topic of creating a vision. Well, woodworking is a very practical example of creating a vision and then acting upon it.
The western world is saturated with self-help literature, self-proclaimed gurus, and nonsensical material attempting to manipulate you into following their "best" methods. If you spend any time on social media the amount of content created to inspire and motivate you seems to be an up an established trend. This stuff is everywhere.
Time and time again I run into men who struggle with finding the motivation to get up and actually take action in life. So, I started an ongoing series to help men who struggle with this. I wanted to create practical tools and ways for men to get a jump start in their life.
This whole article is based on the current results of a survey The Man Effect started in early April 2018. So, if you have not yet had a chance to take this survey on masculinity please take a couple moments out of your day, click the button below and go take it.
Yet again, another shooting has happened in America, and I am sad to say I believe it won't be the last. It saddens my heart deeply when lives are unnecessarily taken, and I find it odd that this has become something that our society has to now be on alert for. I remember when Columbine shooting happened. It was as an eerie day, and yet we seem to be living in a sort of groundhogs type society where this is repeating.
When ponding on the lost lives and the heated gun control debates that are ruining social media, I wondered what can I actually tangible do to make a difference in these moments when I feel so helpless from afar.