I read a series of columns lately about the various things that we do as men that bothers women. And it downright pissed me off. It seems male-bashing has become the rule, not the exception. Everything from a man’s emotional dishonesty to his supposed fear of feminist, progressive, and overachieving women, have been brought into question.

These columns even went so far as to say that there are no societal or cultural structures of accountability that require a man to acknowledge his inability to communicate, commit, be honest about his feelings or fix his flaws.

The women who write these columns are either downright stupid, or better yet, bitter. It amazes me whenever a woman tries to get into the head of a man, particularly a Black man. No book, television or radio show will ever give you what you need when it comes to figuring us out. If you want honest answers, please talk to your father, brother or good male friend, because we – men and women – are more alike than we are different.

The minute women start to realize this, the better off we’ll be. The mythology surrounding what makes “a man” still looms large – so much so that it is assumed that even men often experience this hidden battle with masculinity.

Should I let my girlfriend or wife know how much something is bothering me? Will it come across as soft? Do I speak my mind at work or do I run the risk being seen as too emotional? If I take a stand on a principle that challenges the thoughts of other men, will I lose status?

Women can be strong advocates for change by encouraging men to evolve and expand beyond the stereotypes. I have come up with what I feel are some of the biggest falsehoods about men that, when exposed, can lead you to understand the true nature of masculinity.

Men Are Emotional: This may come as surprise to some, but men are more emotional than women. Have you ever seen a guy with his friends or watched him play a sport? Where femininity is about being outwardly emotional, masculinity just doesn’t work that way. If you give a man time, you will see the wall start to drop. Eventually, he will probably tell you more than you want to know about him. A man’s actions are always your best indicators. If you tell a man you love him and he doesn’t tell you back…unfortunately, he doesn’t love you. It’s just that simple.

Sex Is Not The Most Important Thing to Us: Sex is very, very important to a man. But it’s not what makes us fall in love with a woman. It’s very easy for a man to sleep with a woman, it’s not so easy for him to fall in love with her. And it shouldn’t be. When you call a man he says: “I’m alone”…we are actually alone. I know a plethora of successful men, who say they’re tired of being by themselves and wish they could find the right women to settle down with. It’s finding the right woman, who is patient, kind and willing to support his dreams. We too want unconditional love.

A Man’s Occupation Does Not Defines Who He Is: For men, working is what we do, not who we are. Society has deemed that we be providers, so if it overwhelms us…chalk it up to the way we were raised. Besides, I know women who are just as ambitious as men. Trust me, we would much rather be at home playing Play Station, at the gym or hanging out with the fellas. Culturally, men are more defined by their professions, which can keep their passions—what really identifies them—invisible. Get beyond the talk of work and find out what really makes us tick – I’m almost sure it will be not be what you imagined.

Men Are Not Limited Creatures: Men do not like to read. Men do not like the arts. Men do not like to shop. Men do not like to clean. All of these are totally ridiculous notions. If a man is on the fence about enjoying these things with you…he’s probably got something else planned. Think about it…when a man is trying to get a date with you, he will go above and beyond: flowers, plays, movies, concerts, book readings, etc.

Men Do Commit: Men love intimacy, therefore, they actually like commitment. Once a man realizes that you have his back, he will start to show you his true feelings. It may take us a little while, but it will come. Just like a woman, loyalty is everything to us. If a man is not committing to you after a certain amount of time…I suggest you move on.

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11 thoughts on “The Myths of Manhood

  1. specialt757 on said:

    I believe and have seen this to be true, a man will change for the right woman. He may not be good for a or any woman, but for THE woman he will be great.

  2. Zack, I must agree, this is a very well written article. My husband would probably disagree, but I know him much better than he is willing to admit and much better than he knows me. And I can honestly say that much of what you’ve said here does pertain to him, as a man. One bone, I must pick with you, though is that GOD, not, society has defined the role of the man. Society, yes, has much to say and many opinions about that role, but GOD said it first. HE said a man that does not work should not eat. HE laid the foundation for the structure of the family and the hierarchy within. If your belief is in the LORD, then you should gauge your life by HIS word. However, as was stated by AAW, there are TOO MANY men who will use and abuse any woman who will give him the time of day. There are too many women who will allow it. Experts will tell you that WE train others to be the way they are. So in essence, if you continually allow that man to use and abuse you, he will. And unfortunately, he will carry that on to the next relationship, until someone makes him accountable. The man that you spoke of in this article sounds like a dream man, but like you, I know he actually does exist. I married one!!!

  3. specialt757 on said:

    Black men don’t need women to teach them how to be men. You apparently chose a man that was in your opinion a “good man immediately”, therefore, not needing you to teach him how to be a man. From what I gather good black men and fathers should be role models for the younger generation of men coming up behind them. But there are so many that are not, but it’s not the woman’s place to mold or make him into the man she wants him to be. Leave his ass alone if he doesn’t meet your requirements. Once he cheats, show his ass you won’t tolerate that and move on from him. Don’t go out and have babies with this clown.

  4. @African American Woman,

    Black men will have to understand that manhood is not something a woman can teach or a guide a man through, nor can a man guide a woman through womanhood…I really do think some black men do not see fathers as the key to providing backbone, courage, empathy, responsibility so they produce healthy, well adjusted stable young men..actually men that have a lot of issues tend to be very emotional…to the point many cannot control them and wind up making bad life choices. Interesting article, however the importance of fatherhood in rearing well-adjusted boys into manhood should be stressed.

  5. Way too many generalized statements..manhood and womanhood begin at home with mother and father…..the lack of fathers in sons lives leaves an obvious void when that boy becomes an adult and has no concept of manhood withought having been loved, guided and nurtured by a man..I do know a man when I see him and knew my husband was a good man immediately…I have a father who provided love and guidance to his daughters to help us know good men from the wastes of time…black boys absolutely need the same guidance from black fathers..withought it, they either grow into males, never reaching manhood or wait for a woman to help them understand themselves…which means the woman has to be his mother, not girlfriend or wife.

  6. That was a very good read.
    The excellent points;
    – Once a man realizes that you have his back, he will start to show you his true feelings.

    -A Woman’s Looks Are Not Everything: Don’t get me wrong, a woman’s beauty is definitely important, sometimes too important. However, any grown man of substance has been down that road before and knows the pitfalls that come with judging a woman by her looks. A woman with a laser-like intelligence, a sharp sense of humor, a compassionate soul and natural beauty goes very far these days

    -Men Do Listen to Criticism-Just remember to do it in a constructive and positive way.
    -His Friends Are Not More Important Than You: Finally, if a man really loves you…you are and will always be more important to him than his friends

  7. Timekeeeper on said:

    Just in time for Valentine’s day! One more article for some women to take exception to and make something negative out of what is actually a very good, well written and heartfelt article. This article should cause some to simply pause, take a deep breath, and perhaps in the best case scenario see men form a bit of a different angle. That is obviously too much for some though, as you can already see here that would rather take their own personal experience and wrongly attach it to this article.
    Proves one thing though. No matter how open and positive a brother tries to be, some will waste no time trying to turn it into something negative.

    • specialt757 on said:

      Omg TK, after I read this article I did actual what you said before I started to read the comments on here, I stopped and reflected on what Mr. Burgess had to say. Now it’s true I don’t always agree with his articles but one thing I am aware of is that I don’t know how a man feels unless he tells me. I don’t assume to know what’s going on in his mind and actually don’t have time to waste figuring it out, I’ll simply ask. This guy was, IMO trying dispel myths about black men, but people will always find a way to make it about them and the less-than-men they selected to have children with. Seems to me a less-than-a-man will sleep with any woman who will allow him, which should make a woman be a little more careful in who she selects to mate. But no that’s not the case, she chooses to blame her bad decision on him. Just take the time to listen, not all black men are the devil’s spawn.

  8. Are you stuck on stupid or something??? The writer NEVER called anyone a whore!! As a mater of fact, he’s trying in this article to get you to have a better understanding of men. So don’t get your draws in a bunch about it, just understand that men have issues just like women and that we need to be understood as well.

  9. African American woman on said:

    I hear what you are saying, however, you aren’t hearing what the women are saying. Not all men are lying, cheating whores who hate women with a vengeance, but too many are, especially in the black community. Men create kids and walk away. Tell a single mom who trusted a lying man how she should feel. Tell the loyal and faithful woman who’s man has cheated on her again and will never fulfill her dream of marriage that he promised her. I wish more men had the qualities you listed, but sadly, most don’t

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