“Being a Man”

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

After reading the essays from this week you can see how individuals take the meaning of “being a man” differently.  In Brent Staples essay he was an intimidating man without even trying to be  just because he was walking alone at night.  I think the fact that he was a bigger man, alone, and  in the dark made a bigger impact on the woman walking alone at night when compared to looking at his ethnicity.   Granted that race plays a role in many situations, I feel that in this one it didn’t matter what the man looked like.  In this essay Brent Staples tried to dial back the meaning of “being a man”.

In Leonard Kriegels essay his definition of a man was being tough, strong, and able to overcome a disease.  He would workout and do anything he could to not show that he was defeated.  He also wanted everyone to see that he could “take it”.  In other words he wanted to be that ultimate guy, the husband, the father, the hero that can do everything.

After reading both essays, it seems as though the meaning of “being a man” depends more on the situation you’re put in.  For Brent Staples he wanted the definition to be kind, caring, and warm.  For Leonard Kriegel he wanted the meaning to be strong, hard, and rugged.  I think because Brent Staples laid out the situation of walking alone at night behind that woman he wanted to pull back and not seem like a source of fear or anxiety for the woman because he meant no harm.  For Leonard Kriegel he was in the situation of dealing with a disease that crippled him so he wanted to try to be as strong as he could for everyone else.  I think it is out of kindness that people try to adapt to what others need, or you think they need, but in the end how long can you try to be that definition of what you think you should be?

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