Struggles of a boy child: Being a man in the 21st century

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It must be tough being a man enough at this age and era. I imagine how one must struggle to become a man that the society can term as a man enough, because in this arena of gladiators there are tags to each and every man that a mother brings along. And this man, unlike others, has something to prove to the world, or else he may find himself entangled in marque of lesser men. In this loop, men who are deemed not to be men enough languish and die in shame, embattled self esteem, desperation, and seclusion. The world has forgotten them, showed them backs and left them in the wilderness full of unending solitude and name-calling.

These men have been made to think of themselves as worthless failures both to themselves and society. They have been made to think that they cannot amount to anything in society. It is fully, in their understanding, a painful reality that society has pushed them against the walls, stripped them of their sanity, whipped them mercilessly with harsh, demeaning words and robbed them their self-esteem because, in a way, they do not meet the threshold of being man enough in a society where a man is supposed to be stable at the age of 25.

It is bizarre to think that the boy child has the easiest path to life when every corner of his life is lavish of obligations and irreducible minimums which he has to comply with, failure to which he is discarded like a person with Ebola, stigmatized and reduced to nothing but a walking shell of bones, meat and blood. The way the society expects a man to behave puts a lot pressure on a man that sometimes that alone crushes his ambitions or the possibilities of ever achieving his life goals, which any other man has. Naturally, I presume that every man is born with a mind to grow and develop. All that he should ask of the world is support, not condemnation or rejection or abuse. Is support something so heavy to give?

In the olden days of our grand fathers, becoming a man was easy for many reasons. Most importantly, being that he was readily groomed from the young age to be man enough who society can reckon with because he had been exposed to, trained and taught how to be a man. He was offered the right chores, ate the right meals, engaged in manly activities like tilling land, looking after the cattle, hunting, securing the homestead and physically engaging in combat to be able to defend the society in case of harm.

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Thereafter, he would be helped to find a nice woman to be his wife. The elders then would offer him the support in negotiating dowry and tidings coming with it. They ensured a man got a good wife. A good wife made a home. A man only made a house. There was enough land so it was for the man to ensure he had a bounty harvest to last his family till the next one. Life was a bit different and easy for a man to meet the then irreducible minimums. But even so, a man was prepped from the tender age. Growing up, he already knew his defined path and the society conspired to ensure he reached the epitome of it; the same with the girls.

It is very true that time has moved, and that things are operating under new and different circumstances. If you’re observant, the role of the man in society has not changed even with this change in times, even if some of us are in a bout to discredit this statement. If at all they have changed, then the society is a dead engine waiting for its time to retire to its bed. If the roles have changed, honestly, I haven’t heard of any man giving birth to a child.

The primary role of a man in society is to ensure its continuity, thus the priority in having a family, and being able to take care of it. Children are an invaluable asset in any society, thus the need for family to bring forth children.

To be sincere, the epistemology of being a modern shies away from what reality should depict. The society has been fueled by greed, thrashing the original irreducible minimums that should balance the beam of humanity. A gamut of modern day educated professionals has invented new irreducible minimums that have cornered men, reducing them to tools of name shaming and terming them as failures.

To be a modern day man enough, you should be able to make enough money at an early age. At the age of 20, you’re supposed to be competing with any other guy who has a car. You should be able to take a woman out in a fancy hotel and spend exuberantly on her so that you can be in a position to negotiate whether you’re going to shag her or not. This again calls for a thorough discussion and understanding because it is to be known that sex is a mutual occurrence where both parties should extract some form of sweetness or pleasure or whatever it may be called.

To trap a man into spending immoderately on a woman so that she can open her legs is simply professional prostitution- though the women will hold big placards and protest about it all day.

A modern day man enough is measured by his coolness and not only his money but also his ability and propensity to spend his cheddar mindlessly. Coolness means you have to dress well, shave well, hang out in cool joints and drive the latest model of a car.

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In essence, those putting up these standards for men, these women, do not even own a bicycle. Even worse, their fathers, who are also men, own nothing to their name. How is it then possible for someone whose father and background does not have anything to their name to have such a command? I mean there is no harm in deserving and desiring better things in life, but who gives one a moral authority to ask that which they have no knowledge of? How can you ask for the best car in the world if you’ve never driven the normal one, or even learnt how to drive one leave alone owning something similar to one or having money to buy it?

It would make sense if a hardworking woman, who needs a man of the same caliber, puts forth such demands because they would be at the same level. For a man to make a good amount of money, time, resilience, patience and consistency have to be injected into his life for over long periods of time. Meaning there is no way someone who you’re in the same class with, spending the same hours in class as you should be expected to unexpectedly become rich. Mind you he is not working; he is in school learning so that he can use that knowledge later to make money. If you differ with my analysis, why haven’t you made it since you’re at the same age as him and with similar opportunities and circumstances? It is a modern world, right?

For a man to qualify to be man enough by judging his ability to perform in bed in itself is reckless. Every man can perform in bed so long as all the right circumstances are guaranteed. The same way for a woman to be great in sex her mind must be stable and there at the moment of the sport. We, however, love to twist the facts forgetting that sex cannot be enjoyed unless both partners cooperate and make it work. When it doesn’t work, all the blame is heaped on the man, and the woman now starts yapping how poor in bed the guy is. If men were to yap around I am sure women would be surprised to know that 90% of what goes wrong in bed is attributed to how the cookie is served by the woman. But do we say? No, we’re mature enough to keep your insecurities discrete because embarrassing each other is not our game. If you treat your man right, show some respect and give the cookie like you mean it without expectations, men never have, maybe for a tight pussy, I am sure every man will give the best shot.

Manhood in the 21st century is measured in those three things- money, coolness and ability to make a woman’s pussy catch fire during sex. When a man cannot have any of these, then he is not a man. He might as well be a woman. So if he is a woman- then what is the definition of a woman? Someone who can’t do anything other than sit and get served everything? I obviously don’t know.

To reduce a man’s self esteem into tatters and expect him to be a modern day man enough is like expecting milk from chicken. While it is inspiring and very okay to empower the girls in society, it is good that they understand the value of humanity is not money rather it lies in humaneness or what we call compassion for one another. They should be empowered to appreciate men and their existence, what is the point of having empowered women and dead men? What is the achievement?

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Women empowerment, as I see it, is rooted on the wrong block of competition and hatred. Women have been steered to think life is a competition between men and women. Adding to it, they have been engineered to think men are the source of their troubles- and, therefore, they should be loathed.  I don’t think these things happen in the men’s world.

If we are not careful, we might end up with a society with no men. Many men are dying due to ‘being man enough’ related diseases such as depression. Others are just lunatics abandoned by societies- spending their remaining days drinking and smoking weed. The few that have it together are Christians with Jehovah’s witnesses who have no intentions of getting married because women have become what they have become, or because they hardly know anything about women. The good ones have no money. So what is it going to be?

I have seen many come attacking me that I am a cry baby by putting across this argument. I don’t blame their blindness, they’re missing on so many good things that those of us with good eyesight can see. The blunt truth is that we can already see the effects of what I am talking about; men who have been let down by us, abandoned- lost, swept away by mercilessness of this world, kissed by anger and humiliation. To abate the shame, the pain, the guilt and the ever mounting pressure to meet specifics that don’t favour them, they’ve found solace in drugs, porn, theft, church and many other places where they can momentarily get away from the cruel world, and sometimes, from themselves. We need both men and women for a society to thrive. Life is about happiness, not richness.

There is need to restructure our thoughts and channel our campaigns the right directions. The winds of greed have obscured our real needs, turning them into insatiable wants that have not only thrown us into turmoil, restlessness and dissatisfaction  but also constant struggles to pursue things we really don’t know or their values or reasons why we do so.

It is tough being a man. It is tough to date a woman if you are broke. It is tough to survive in a world where your fellows are bankrolled by other richer, older folks. It is depressing when the world tosses you aside and leaves you to fight for yourself.  It is heartbreaking when no one offers you a job yet they want you to work hard. Where then can such a man turn for help? How can he break from these walls and prisons and chains to become a man who is man enough?

We should salute all the men who have struggled out of these harsh circumstances to make it. Against all the wrong odds, they’re the inspiration that the young men need to keep fighting so that one day they can look back and say, ‘because of you I didn’t give up.’

One day we shall all wake up and discover there are no more men: where are all the men? It will be too late. But we shall remember these words- it is tough be a man enough in a society that does not appreciate men.

I love what my friend and former classmate Louisah wrote about turning the energy towards #boychild. Read it on https://lokarimi.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/manhood/

 

Mzangila Snr

(The supreme hunter in captivity)

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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