Since starting this blog I’ve been playing around a bit with what it’s actually about. Cos all successful bloggers have a niche. I’d come up with the 1,440 idea (that we all have 1,440 minutes in our day) at the start of the year with the intention of writing about work-life balance. But that took a bit of a turn when I dropped the ‘work’ side of the balance.
Since then I’ve wandered around trying to nail my niche to give my blogging some focus. I wanted to be able to write about my thoughts, my life and stuff that I find interesting. So is it about being a Dad? Or learning to live mindfully? Or even about taking a mid-life break?
For the time being I’ve settled on the fact that the only topic that brings all this together is that I am a man and this is my blog. So welcome to my ‘Man Blog‘.
The problem, and what I think is an opportunity, is that the word ‘man’ is going through a bit of a crisis. It seems that what being a man meant even 20 years ago is very different to what it means today.
This month on the GQ website they’ve been writing about their ‘State of Man’ survey. They conducted a survey asking more than 1,000 men about everything from fatherhood to Facebook, Weinstein to WhatsApp, mental health to sexuality. Their conclusion was that it’s never been a more confusing time to be a man, and I think they’re right.
The results were all interesting and many relatable. One bit that stuck for me was the questions about the phrase ‘Man Up’ in the survey. I still remember the brilliant ad by Always about a similar type of phrase, ‘Like a girl‘, which I still hear being used as a put down. The ad asks a number of people to demonstrate what various ‘Like a girl’ phrases mean – Run like a girl, throw like a girl etc. It’s mostly negative and insulting.
As a 40 year old man I’d find someone telling me to ‘Man Up’ insulting, because as I’ve grown up I’ve seen it used to refer to being overly macho. In the survey, 70 per cent of men aged 25 to 34 thought that telling a man to “man up” was outdated, tired and unhelpful. But interestingly a third of 16- to 24- year-olds associate “an ability to man up” with modern masculinity.
This makes me wonder if there is a shift amongst young men, who could be offspring of 40-somethings like me, of the meaning of ‘manning up’. Perhaps rather than it being seen as outdated, tired and unhelpful it just needs to be reinvented across the board? Why can’t ‘Manning Up’ mean showing vulnerability, showing someone respect or carrying your baby in a papoose?
I’m not sure I’ll solve what it means to be a man, or globally re-invent the phrase ‘Man Up’ on this man blog. But I’m going to try and talk about some of the things that make me a man.
Or is it the things that being a man make me?
Watch Dad Blogger – The London Dad – give his take on what it means to be a man: