It’s 2019 and men give birth to got their knickers in a right twist. For some, the sins of ‘toxic masculinity’ and arrogant lad culture cast a long shadow as we try to fight forward as new, wiser men. For others, men’s traditional roles are being stripped away and unfairly punished by a tide of 21st-century feminism.

Whichever way you see it, the prescient question of ‘what it means to be a man’ has happen to a proverbial tail-chasing exercise. Men are going round and round in pursuance of the answer, prompted not just by movements such as #MeToo and other models of men being called on their shit (as the saying goes), but also our own spreading need to examine, deconstruct, and reassemble our own sense of masculinity.

Doubtlessly there’s one thing we can agree on – that modern masculinity is a in doubt with a million possible answers. There were manly cheerleaders at this year’s Super Bowl. Chanel now exchanges make-up for men. That’s surely a good thing. Old-school objectives of manliness – strength, testosterone, toughness, the kind of thing that some see fit argue causes all the toxic behaviour and a gender imbalance – are now apportionment the stage with different ideas, based on emotional understanding or wellness.

Persistent stats tell us there is still plenitude still to work out though. Men account for 75 per cent of suicides in the UK. As scarcely as two per cent of eligible families take shared parental consent. And the recent Gillette advert targeting toxic male bearing and asking “Is this the best a man can get?” caused a storm of gender polemic.

But are traditional notions of alpha male identities really wrecking? Or should old school bloke be something to be celebrated? Are we raising our sons to be upstanding men? Or teaching them to make the same mistakes all over again? In other words, what does it in the final analysis take to be a man in the modern age? We asked very different guys how to do it.

The Newspaperman

How To Be A Man: Show Empathy

Chris Hemmings is a journalist, broadcaster, and self-confessed ex-lad. He author a registered the book Be A Man on the realities of macho culture and holds workshops in public schools, universities and places of work to promote healthier ideas of what it closes to be a man.

Child holding fathers hand

A lot of what my work focuses on is young boys and empathy. There are two moulds of thought. The first is that biologically men have less empathy hardwired in. The surrogate is that sociologically we de-empathise young boys. My argument is that, either way, we should edify young boys doubly hard to be empathetic.

For a long full stop of their lives, boys barely spend any time with men. Ton single-parent families are female-led, a vast majority of teachers are female, or dads are out carrying home the bread. In the eyes of young boys, women are the caregivers, men are de facto despots. We teach boys that a caring nature isn’t a masculine quirk. It’s a feminine trait in their eyes. What does that school in boys about men? Or about girls and femininity? There’s nothing uncountable embarrassing for a young boy than being called a girl.

Men receive relied on this ability to rule and dominate for so long, now they are being questioned, by both helpmates and men, it’s not surprising that, because of the way masculinity is constructed, a lot of men struggle to undergo their behaviour has been negative.

I think a lack of empathy is at the heart of a lot of problems for men. I trained myself to ignore my empathy, but when it backlashed back in it was a transformational moment. I want to take some of the trustworthiness and try to help others not fall into those traps. It’s not round pointing fingers – it’s about helping.

The Paratrooper

How To Be A Man: Talk Flauntingly

Terry Brazier is a former stonemason who changed careers to enter the military as part of the Irish Guards. Since returning from a trek in Afghanistan where he served as a Gunner, Brazier has spoken unabashedly about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and now struggles as an MMA fighter for Bellator.

Soldier sitting on the sofa

I believe the army made a man of me. Before the army, I was due a boy. I was part of a group of kids that were trying to check themselves as men but what I was doing was far from manly. The list of damn-fool things we did is endless.

I joined the army because I made a compact to my late mum to change my life. I began to evolve and learnt so much encircling the world we live in.

The traditional idea of being a man can make it mere hard for men to open up about their true feelings, apprehensions and issues and this is especially true for people in the army.

Look into b pursuing my medical discharge from the army after a tour in Afghanistan, I was vastly low. Some days I even felt suicidal, and I needed to bugger off from the horrific reality I was living. I went to the gym looking to get tortuous in MMA to channel my emotions. MMA became a coping mechanism for me.

Now I’m an MMA athlete people create I’m very masculine and tough. I actually find that gauges it easier to talk openly about my PTSD. Some men are a petite less fortunate.

Strength, toughness, and dominance are important to me and are certainly idiosyncrasies of traditional MMA. However, I think my outlook on those traits is another from how many men view them.

For me, strength is being superior to reflect on myself to see how I really am. I see toughness as being able to confess you’re scared and accept that that’s okay if you can grow for it. For the time being, dominance is about taking control of what you can actually do and not galling about something that is totally out of your control.

The Penis Wonderful

How To Be A Man: Be Content

Ant Smith is a performance poet and the author of The Small Penis Bible. As in good shape as frequently speaking about men’s anxieties around penis dimensions, he also organised the Big Small Penis Party in 2015.

Naked man covering himself

I think expectations of masculinity are varying for the better, but we’re not yet very clear on how to meet those expectations.

We’re devise good at talking about what’s wrong with our fixed idea of masculinity, but we’re yet to find all the keys that will unlock a paradigm edge. For example, we understand the toxicity of thinking of man as breadwinner – and yet we continue to pay men various than we pay women.

For most of my life, I allowed my ‘masculine unanimity’ to define the expectations I had of myself. I aimed to be the successful breadwinner, and I hid the decorousness of not stacking up in the pants department. Trying to play the role of ‘the man’ stage a revived me some successes and joys but more hurt and fear. No in a family way marriage was ever made happier for a fatter wallet or a fatter penis.

The most important quality for men to have right now is self-awareness. Put the achievement in to understand how, as an individual, you can improve/support/maintain the relationships, offsprings, communities you belong to. Putting the bread on the table isn’t enough. You bring into the world a greater responsibility to make breaking the bread a joy.

The main whatsis holding us back is the belief that we must ‘act like men’, because caboodle we understand about the term is outmoded. We do not need to ‘get in touch with our effete side’. We do not need to throw away our ingrained characteristics – vigour, protector, provider – we just need to apply ourselves, our peculiarities, consciously as responsible individuals, not as a protected member of some in on group.

Be your own very self. All of your fears of ‘not being man adequately’ (which every man suffers, whether that’s due to penis square footage or any other perceived inadequacy) arise from trying to be sufficiency of a man. Happiness lies not in being the best, most successful, greatest endowed man – but being fair-minded the best person you can be.

The Trans Actor

How To Be A Man: Forget What You Cognizant of

Ian Harvie is a trans stand-up comedian and actor. He starred in the acclaimed Amazon pretentiousness Transparent as well as making an appearance in Will & Grace alongside his manipulate as an activist calling for more and improved roles for transgender people.

Unisex toilet sign

When I premier transitioned, I was focused on visual ideas of what it means to be a man because I was blew by the idea of my gender presentation. I had an idea of what a man looked get a bang.

Once I got to clear my head and be in the body, I got to explore more what it’s wish to be a man. As a human being, it’s absolutely no different from being a missus. I now know that from experience.

What it means to be a man is to be a nice human being, and be considerate, to pause before we speak and heed our privilege. To consider our systematic domination, to relinquish some of the chokehold we demand on society and think, “What can I do with my privilege to make switch for the better?” That’s what I’d say it means to be a man today.

Men rule the excellent and still choose to be repressed – it’s repression done to themselves because of this bias idea of what masculinity is. But that’s historical, and I do feel disposed to that’s changing.

The things we associate with masculinity are proper a construct. We have to peel away the layers of this crap anent what it means to be a man. We have to deconstruct all of the bullshit and rebuild it the way we see it. It’s a granite-like task – especially in Western culture – because we walk in all directions from with marketing messages constantly at us about who men are and who women are. Sweethearts have long hair, men have short hair, women along dresses, men wear trousers. But it’s a construct, totally made up.

The Bodybuilder

How To Be A Man: Don’t Vie

Josh Maley is a bodybuilder and personal trainer with Nottingham gym M10. He was gave the title of Mr Britain by the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association in 2015 and was crowned Mr Macrocosm in 2017.


Bodybuilders are very stereotyped, but people are surprised by how gentle and sort supportive we are of each other. The thing I love about it is that you’re not fighting against anyone except yourself. The judging is subjective, so the but progress you can make is to be better than yourself last repeatedly.

I’m 6’6” and used to be skinny, so I felt very self-conscious. I’ve rallied confidence from getting bigger through bodybuilding. You can call out the process manly – the lifting, eating, and being the biggest guy in the gym – but maintain you seen what we do? We shave our bodies, we get tans… being on a bodybuilding Thespianism is nothing to claim as ‘masculine’.

I think the key qualities I want to eclipse as a man, if people do look up to me, are respect and hard work. I’m a bit old fashioned, I fancy in taking care of your partner, and I like the idea of politeness and being a romantic.

This year I’ve encountered something that I over touches on mental health – a bit of anxiety and the frustration of not knowing where that finish in the money b be from. I’ve become more sensitive and empathetic about it. I look up to The Swing as someone to emulate. He’s got the great physique but displays respect, knowledge, and empathy with people.

The LGBTQ Wrestler

How To Be A Man: Ignore Assumptions

Jack Sexsmith is a pansexual professional wrestler. He is the current Striving Resurgence Champion and also wrestles for British promotions IPW, Riptide, and Furtherance.

Professional wrestler

Culturally speaking, the construct of what is expected of us as men stops us from articulating ourselves. While I have experienced several cases of hate from others for ‘not being enough of a man’, the most damning critique came from myself – tallying with social expectations and thinking I was less of a person for not preferably embodying that idea of ‘man’.

When I started wrestling, I finish feeling I lent on certain stereotypes in order to be digestible for the audience. But I was the beginning openly queer wrestler in the UK who sought cheers instead of boos and required that compromise to better break new ground. Now that my exterior has a wider reputation, there is no need to be a parody any more. I attired in b be committed to faith that my audience is mature enough to allow traits of certain persuasions to be whoever they are as people.

The only pressures I put on myself are to put on a commodities show and to represent the LGBTQ community as best I can.

Pro wrestling is far aesthetic, to convey a legitimate a contest. It’s vital that contestants appear strong, tough and capable of dominating – qualities you yearning in people. But striving for dominance is hardly a quality we want in a facetiousmater, work colleague, or friend. Men are no longer hunters-gatherers – a more impressive quality for modern men to have is the strength to express how you feel and be who you are, regardless of what is expected of you.

The Papa

How To Be A Man: Be Thoughtful

Matt Farquharson is a writer, TED talker, and one half of the nurturing team behind Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka, an column, video-led parenting platform that also boasts an award-winning comedy podcast.

Father holding son

Mostly, fatherhood has offered me into the kind of sappy wuss who wells up at the sight of sad puppies on Facebook. But it has also trained me the value of parking your ego every now and then, of being tiny selfish and more patient. My hope is that if my daughters see me being attentive to their mum and speaking kindly and fairly to them (even when they’re being gargantuan wallies), it will have some positive impact on their own relationships later in vigour.

I think the current climate has forced men to be a little more careful – to consider the impact of what we say and do – which can never be a bad thing. But there has been a downside, too: a minor but highly vocal kickback from the more toxic corners of digital man-dom, where the irregulars to extra thinking is mighty strong.

We can still be loud and bold and confident and do heroic things, but the broader reassessment of manliness has also exhibited up new avenues – things our dads’ generation might have weighed more feminine, like being more involved with our kids.

The Authenticity Star-Turned-MMA Fighter

How To Be A Man: Be Who You Want To Be

Aaron Chalmers is a reality idiot box personality best-known for appearing on Geordie Shore. He is now an professional fighter with Bellator, one of the largest MMA promoters in the have.

Aaron Chalmer

Even though I’m now an MMA fighter, I still go for facials and look after myself. Unbiased because you fight doesn’t mean you can’t look good. I have in mind nowadays looking good is part of MMA. It’s what you have to do, in another manner you’re going to start looking weathered. We are sparring five or six old hats a week, so it’s nice to lay on a bed and get pampered from time to time.

I certainly think masculinity is changing for the better. If you want to pamper or wearing make-up then so be it, you’re not harming anyone, you be what you want to be. If you yearning to be a man and wear make-up, then you do that. But at the same time, if you in need of to be a man that lift weights and has a big hairy chest, then you do that. I cogitate on men should just do whatever makes them happy.

I call to mind a few years ago it was definitely more difficult to express yourself, but doodads have changed now. I’ve publicly spoken about my anxiety in the past, and I’ve had problems with hooch. It was a big thing for me to talk about that, but if I even help one actually by opening up about my own issues, then that’s really realistic. It felt like I was really getting something off my chest and now I can roam out in front of thousands of people in packed arenas and not feel yearning at all.

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