A quick Google image search of “Man Up” and “Woman Up” reveals two distinctly different social interpretations of the meme.
Female results, which are virtually free of profanity, reflect a collaborative push to overcome whatever is holding them back. There are very few celebrity archetypes. The only references to men are the occasional fudging of ‘Man’ with ‘Woman’ in different font styles. Overall, I’d describe the tenor as positive, inclusive, and hopeful. Tending and befriending.
Male results differ. They reveal a pattern that aggressively challenges men, through profanities and images of celebrities (e.g., Mr. T, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson), to stop being like women, who are characterized as either princesses (implicitly high-maintenance and wimpy) or more pervasively in the derogatory “bitch” category. There is also (predictably) a perceptible military/“prove yourself in combat” theme running through many of the images with a repeated solution simply being to “grow some balls.” Classic alpha-male veneration exuding visceral overtones of fighting or perishing, with a distinct emphasis on the fighting.
Implicit in these male images is the notion that emotions are not only not part of the equation, but they are weakening, a distraction, and if you cry, you are a wuss. That blindly following a social template created by someone else, regardless of how ill-conceived and counter-productive it might be to yourself and society, is the key to successful survival. That soldiering on and pushing through whatever, no matter the mental, physical or spiritual costs, will earn you the respect of your peers, parents, hot women, and/or country. What a crock.
Having the courage to chart one’s own course, to explore, experiment, fail, and keep trying, in the face of immense and intense social pressures to conform, is a true hallmark of an actualized being.
From my perspective, having the courage to chart one’s own course, to explore, experiment, fail, and keep trying, in the face of immense and intense social pressures to conform, is a true hallmark of an actualized being. To, as Socrates brilliantly stated, examine your life… and know thyself. And if a man chooses to adopt “feminine” characteristics (or a woman decides to be more “manly”), in this most challenging process, bucketloads more power to them. The notion of needing to “man up,” at least as defined above, seems rather silly, not to mention potentially dangerous.
Expanding this dynamic to the global order, I argue that this fight or flight mentality is precisely what the world cannot continue to maintain if we are to survive and thrive. The issues, and solutions, are too big, complex, and interconnected for this primal, hormone-based response to crisis to serve at the center of U.S. and other nation’s foreign policies. “Manning up” in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts has added between $4 and 6 trillion to our debt load, depending on accounting technique (so far…veteran’s expenses will continue until they die), with objectively less-than-desired impacts in terms of democratization and stability. Granted, this will require many years, even decades, to transition. It would be foolhardy to lower our defenses to situations like Russia, the Middle East, the wingnut in North Korea, etc.
This said, I fervently believe the tend and befriend model should be a global goal, which will require many more leaders across the political, military, corporate and media domains whose biochemistry is geared to these ends. Positivity, inclusion, and hope, versus the prevailing fight or perish.
I won’t “Man Up.” I will “Human Up.”
The Good Men Project is different from most media companies. We are a “participatory media company”—which means we don’t just have content you read and share and comment on but it means we have multiple ways you can actively be a part of the conversation. As you become a deeper part of the conversation—The Conversation No One Else is Having—you will learn all of the ways we support our Writers’ Community—community FB groups, weekly conference calls, classes in writing, editing platform building and How to Create Social Change.
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.
Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.
While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:
However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!
Do you want to talk about how to have richer, more mindful, and enduring relationships?
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
The Good Men Project is an Amazon.com affiliate. If you shop via THIS LINK, we will get a small commission and you will be supporting our Mission while still getting the quality products you would have purchased, anyway! Thank you for your continued support!
Originally published on Huffington Post