Lens Of The People: Hypermasculinity

Good Afternoon, readers! Lens of The People is a column dedicated to the capture of the real-life scenarios and events of the local Houston area whilst also giving the thoughts and opinions of the Houston community itself its own voice to speak through.

This week, what came to my attention once again was the effect of masculinity on our society. Currently, the society we live in is so very much patriarchal, and many of us know of the effect it has on women. Issues like gender equity and the wage gap come to mind. But what about men themselves? I often wonder, as a man, how much the idea of masculinity defines me as a human being, and so this leads me to this week’s topic question that I asked only men: Do you feel secure within your own masculinity? That is to say, do you feel comfortable with the way you carry yourself at all times, even if what you’re doing at all times isn’t inherently “masculine” according to societal cliches and tropes? Here’s what the people have to say:

“Me, personally, I feel like I can be myself and maintain my masculinity. It was a struggle for me in the beginning because I was raised by mostly women. It all came down to realizing I don’t have to prove my masculinity to anybody as long as I know for myself that I conduct myself as a man.” -Myles McCants

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“I’m extremely secure within my own masculinity. A good friend of mine always says, “There’s no one way to be a man.” I can be my complete self and still maintain my masculinity. And I feel as though it takes an immense amount of confidence and courage to truly be who you are. For instance, I, myself, identify as a straight heterosexual male. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I like to be nicely groomed, I have a refined taste in fashion, and I’m very meticulous on my appearance. I still am very secure within myself to know that I am a true valiant manly man.” -Dicarlo Warren

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“I do feel like I can be myself while maintaining a sense of masculinity. Masculinity to me is all about confidence. Yes, the stereotypes such as the way we dress, the way we talk or even the music we listen to, play a factor. The thing for men is just being comfortable and confident with those things, among others.” -William Hannan

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“I am able to be myself and keep my masculinity, because I am myself. I don’t let someone tell me who I should be and I’ve been happy so far, not having to pretend I’m someone I’m not. If you can’t be yourself it’s not you who is masculine, more so your persona that you created.” -Mauricio Flores

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“Oh, most definitely. I mean, being raised by primarily women my entire life has shown me that being yourself is possibly the most masculine you could be. I feel like I don’t have to hide any part of me, and I don’t have to pretend to be uncomfortable with any situation due to the fact that no matter what, I am still who I am and still believe what I believe.” -Edmar Bustos

Photographer’s Thoughts

I have a very specific ideology of what masculinity is to me, as I feel many men do. My definition of masculinity is a man who is able to reach out for what they want in life and live unbothered, regardless of what other people have to say. A true man, to me, is someone who is able to look beyond mere titles and be who they truly are. And while that sounds easy, I assure you it can be very difficult to just be yourself. As male-dominated as our society is, I would argue that on a mental level, it is actually the men who are suffering. From high expectations to false ideals to the constant pressuring of who you are “meant” to be by the media, there are some challenges we face. This has gotten slightly better with time, but these stereotypes have manifested for centuries worldwide. As for me, personally, I do feel secure within my own masculinity. I feel as though I’ve long passed the point where anyone can make claims on how “masculine” or “manly” I am because that’s all within me. I don’t have anything to prove on that front, because I am what I am. And no action can take away from that.

This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!