45 honest, heartbreaking, and heartwarming responses to 'Be a man'

They start at age 5 and go all the way up to 50. And every one has a different idea of what "Be a man" means.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "Be a man"?

When I hear it, the feminist in me can't think of it as anything other than a really limiting way to think about gender — and, because it's usually used to shoot down someone acting in a way that's perceived as "feminine," it strikes me as kind of insulting. But as this video from Cut Video illustrates, not everyone sees it that way.

Here are 45 brutally honest responses.

<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span>

The concept of "manliness" is both complex and flawed. That's why every response to "What does 'Be a man' mean?" is so vastly different.

I expected to hear: "Be tough," "Stop acting like a baby," and "Don't show emotion." Instead, this video showcases a deeply personal and honest collection of introspective answers that range from proud, disappointed, insecure, angry, optimistic, and, yes, even feminist. Here are a few of them:


Some found it "kinda sexist."

All images by Cut Video.

"I find it kinda sexist. Someone says 'Be a man,' well, there are strong women as well."
— Kyle, age 15

"Stupid. It's almost a sexist phrase too, like, if you're not being 'a man' it's kinda saying you're being a woman in a way too?"
— Cole, age 17

"Sexist. It's a very accepted form of sexism. 'To be a man' implies that you need to be something specific."
— Sillias, age 42

For others, being a man is about courage.


"Unafraid."
— Solomon, age 8

"Take responsibility."
— John Jr., age 18


"Someone who can be a hero to someone."
— Aaron, age 24

Many saw "Be a man" as a call to action.

"Focused. 'Cause to be a man you need to be focused and strong and have a good understanding of the world around you so you can be a better person."
— Sam, age 20


"To stand up for what you believe in."
— Dan, age 34

"Trust your instincts. Be strong. Don't let people push you around. And be kind to women."
—Thomas, age 50

The lessons: Gender is complicated, and so are the ways that we talk about it. Being a man doesn't mean one thing. It's up to every individual to define it for themselves.

Did watching this video expose any of your own prejudices about manhood? It did for me! And that's not easy to admit. Without realizing it, I projected my own ideas of how the men would respond before I even hit play. As we grow in our understanding of gender and identity, we should think just as deeply about how the phrases we use and hear every day might mean different things to different people. It's a lesson I'm going to remember.

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular