It’s that time of the semester for college students: midterms.
While I’ve finished all but one, the strain of the last week has been wearing me down. I’ve come to appreciate my education more and more though the years of pouring over books and writing countless papers. It’s humbling in a way, even if I don’t get every answer right, I’m learning, and I know it’s going towards something meaningful.
Similarly, I feel the same growth in my feminist rhetoric as I move forward into ShoutOut. It’s been enlightening and empowering in ways I never expected. In this period of self-reflection I stumbled upon this article on GoodMenProject.com that lifted my spirits from midterm slum. As it were, it seems I got something right in my first post in a series addressing what a male feminist looks like.
At the time of that post, my essential credo was cut and dry, don’t be a jerk and respect people for who they are, but in reality, life isn’t so simple. Being an active man, consciously involved in the social progress of humanity doesn’t come from avoiding the tendency of acting a certain way, but from the confidence to demonstrate moral character.
What I appreciated most from the Good Men’s post were the themes of accountability and authenticity that I think everyone can apply.
In modern society there’s still a medieval idea of masculinity that has generated greater harm than good (if there’s even any good that has come from it). So this idea of accountable and authentic selves is really what men should be striving for to first begin promoting feminism. By defying the socially projected idea of masculinity with an inner understanding with one’s self, men can advance towards emotional maturity.
Accountability comes from integrity, and integrity is your moral code. What are your values? How do you measure yourself and those around you? Do you set your bar too high, too low?
Personally, I know I sometimes miss the mark on my personal ideals, but it wasn’t until maybe a year or two ago that I started holding myself accountable for my actions. I realized, I had (and still have) many faults I wasn’t addressing. By becoming accountable I started personally growing up and maturing. I became responsible for representing what I wanted to see in the world. Apart from the questions above, one thing you can consider is how can you actively account for your personal values in your everyday actions?
Authenticity comes from personal awareness. In our society, men have a false need to act macho, stoic and even-keel, but this translates to men being dominating, emotionless and manipulative. Being emotionally mature means confidently being you and letting yourself react to things…well… authentically. Knowing who you truly are is crucial for emotional maturity because you’ll have a greater understanding for how you react and act around others. Through this understanding you can start being the best person you can possibly be.
Some questions on authenticity to think over might include what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who are you at the core? How can you authentically represent yourself in your everyday actions?
Like I said before, although I’m primarily preaching to men, I think these are strong personal question we can all consider and evaluate from time to time. Being emotionally mature will naturally produce compassion and respect for others, and that’s change we can all appreciate!
What are your thoughts? Do you think you or someone else could benefit from being a little more accountable and/or authentic? Leave a comment or shout out below and let’s discuss!