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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.

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

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.

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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.

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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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Photo: Canva

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It's been a lot. It's been emotionally and mentally exhausting. And at this point, many of us have hit a wall of pandemic fatigue that's hard to describe. We're just done with all of it, but we know we still have to keep going.

Poet Donna Ashworth has put this "done" feeling into words that are resonating with so many of us. While it seems like we should want to talk to people we love more than ever right now, we've sort of lost the will to socialize pandemically. We're tired of Zoom calls. Getting together masked and socially distanced is doable—we've been doing it—but it sucks. In the wintry north (and recently south) the weather is too crappy to get together outside. So many of us have just gone quiet.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Dr. Who / YouTube

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via Walt Disney Television / Flickr and jilhervas / Flickr

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When that happens, it's time to stop posting photos of yourself partying it up with an adult beverage. You gotta hold back on some of your saltier takes, and you have to start minding your language. Also, you have to be very careful about the posts you're tagged in.

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