Sunday, January 22, 2006

a fuckd up view of manhood

I often feel bad as a representation of what I feel is a dying breed - real community based and responsible men of African descent. Too often we forget of how what we do and suggest can impact others around us, even those whom we do not know or come in contact with. It used to be a time when hard work and responsibility were rewarded with personal humility for its own sake. Now, it appears as if such morals are a thing of the past. It is fashionable now to use money as the bridging gap to success and importance. Now we all need money and know of its value, but does a stack of processed and dyed tree-pulp actually define ones manhood? That’s the query I am attempting to answer as I pen this essay.

I am troubled that we have reduced ourselves in terms of defining manhood as a function of wealth. Is one who robs and jack cars and accumulates wealth considered to be a man? Is an athlete, actor or musician, who spends most of the time on the road, in clubs, cheating on their significant others a man? Is one a man if he maintains his family yet keeps secrets from his wife or woman regarding their bisexual tendencies a man? Is one a man if he selects not to take a job because he feels his value is worth more, when he has no job to begin with? Or is the man who claims that he is in a committed relationship but looks for excuses to back out of a marriage - Omar Tyree for example.

It frightening in a sense, for it makes one think that a person can be emasculated if they lose their material wealth. I was raised to believe that a man was never judged by his greed, avarice or wealth, but more so by personal integrity and work ethic. I saw we all take a part in redefining our manhood and I admit I need to start with myself. No im not like any of the examples I cited, but I do have baggage and things I need to work on. I can always be a better father and a better partner to my significant other and I have to remember that, while at the same time not falling for defining my manhood by what I have as opposed to what I can create with my mind and my work ethic on behalf of my family and community.


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SMW said...

Hmmm... Well, this is definately an interesting subject which would be a good storyline for one of your books, (or mine ~smile~). Do I judge men based on their achievements and/or possessions? I'm afraid I do.

I recently met a man who is so nice to me yet he drives a car that was made in the 80's and lives with his Mama.

While I enjoy his company I really prayed and asked God if this could possible be who He had for me because I was expecting much more than just a sweet disposition.

He had ambition and dreams but I have yet to see the reality of any of it though I admit I've only known him for a short time.

I think I would be more comfortable if he had more material possessions. I can't apologize, that's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

but is he a man, he lives with his mother, if he moved out of his crib to takle care of her thats a diff story, i have been asking my mom and granny to move in with me for the longest so i can take care of them



Emanuel Carpenter said...

Who is a real man? It all depends on who you ask my brother. Some may say a real man looks good with his shirt off. Others may say he knows what to do with his pants off. Still others may define a real man as a man who knows how to provide for his family, while others believe he must go beyond the role of provider and provide the bling. Does a real man make six figures while working for the man? Or does a real man start his own business even though he has to struggle? Depends on who you ask.

Omar Tyree brings up a very good subject regarding monogamy in committed relationships, especially in a marriage where vows have been exchanged. I commend him for his bravery because if I wrote that shit in Essence Magazine, I’d be trying to figure out how to get out of a choke hold. I bring up the very same subject in my novel “Where is the Love?” where the main character is struggling with the difficulties of his ten-year marriage. Personally, being a married man myself, I believe that there’s temptation everywhere you go but the risk is not worth it. Broken condoms could lead to broken homes. Then there’s crabs, mono, unwanted pregnancy or even death from HIV. That shit should make a brother monogamous like a mutherfucka. Yeah, it’s damn difficult to hear “no” from the wifey if you’re pitching a tent when the wind blows and she’s having her third headache in three nights. A single brother could just dial the next number in his cell. A married brother should just remember his vows, take a cold shower, or in times of desperation, spank that bad boy. Another thing to do is imagine the shoe on the other foot. What if your woman was insatiable and you were too tired from a hard day’s work to give her what she needs? Could you excuse her for cheating? My ass would be having Gulf War flashbacks getting ready to kill a couple of mofos.

So who is a real man? Depends on your definition.

Peace Ya’ll,

Emanuel Carpenter
Author of “Where is the Love?”

Anonymous said...

well put eman


Shai said...

Yes, Omar was honest about what alot of men go through.

Sadly, alot of men don't realize how it feels to be a good woman. I want to know Mrs. Tyree's take on the article. There are too many missing elements.

Women get tempted too has they struggle to make a home. I am sure Omar is busy and travels alot. I wonder if his wife has her times she is tempted.

Anonymous said...

Well put Emanuel. I just read all the great reviews your novel is getting and bought a copy on Lookin' forward to readin' it.

Anonymous said...

to Shai: How can he be honest when he has been seen at writing events with women who were not his wife - he has been cheating on her all the time the way i figure it. Kobe cheated so what makes him different.

Linda Wattley said...

Hi Torrance, that was a big question you asked about manhood. I must admit it is a much needed question. Our country has the tendency of ignoring the fact some words need redefining. You are correct in saying what made a man at one time is totally different today especially after the Women's Liberation Movement. The black man was never actually correctly defined coming out of slavery. His anger and disassociation with his women and children was forced on him then and hard to recapture after being supposedly free. Men in America today, collectively are losing their patience to understand their place in the world when it comes to the heart. They hunt or achieve financial success at the risk of losing heart bonding with their families. The rush in their spirit to succeed makes it difficult for many to stop and see who and what he really is and to give his own meaning to life instead of someone else's meaning.

Manhood can't really stand alone in definition because there's no foundation for it to grow on at this time, but some are seeking to develop one. In the meantime, godhood is most crucial--getting in touch with what makes you the best presence in this world. Being that I have two adult sons, I watched each seek their identity without their father due to early death. What I saw most is the reality that both knew he needed someone to tell them what it meant to be a man. Road models were multiple and most weren't good. To be a gang banger in the urban areas meant power and respect. To be courteous and respectful and striving to get an education meant to be a sellout. There were always unstable certainties about what was the real existence of manhood. All I could do to help them see was focus to on the power of individuality and to not let people tell them who they are. Instead, I told them to tell people who they are by their choices.

Until there is a large number seeking the best meaning of manhood to establish a base, I say rely on your individuality to reveal your manhood. I hope my perspective assists in your goals. Thanks for asking the question

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Keelah said...

Wow! Just wow! I am impressed by your view of it seems common sense, but its just not all that common anymore. This is a topic that I ponder often, simply because I have a son, and one on the way...and I wonder how will we help them to be young MEN...when we have grown up with such a skewed version of what manhood is...This also applies to womanhood as well. Sigh. BTW...thanks for stopping by! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes he was honest, but he didnt metion that he takes other women outside of his wife on his trips for book signgs - i have seen such, i would call that hypocritical

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