TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What does it mean to be a man?

No explanation required. We all have an initial reaction to this age old question. Though it would be interesting to hear allegorical accounts of men in your life that epitomize maleness.

  • May 28 2013: A man takes responsibility for himself and his actions. He can be trusted to do what he says he will do. He can be given responsibility over other people without abusing it. He's not afraid of commitment or hardship. He has control over himself. He takes his obligations seriously.

    My dad 's a good example of this. I haven't always looked up to him, but I do now that I'm entering into that world myself and I know how hard it is. He's actually a very quiet, reserved man in the public view. Most people wouldn't notice him and he hasn't done anything that special. He's not particularly outdoorsy, in fact he's a scientist cooped up in a lab most of the day. Yet I consider him one of the manliest men I know. For example, he got up at 4:30 in the morning every day for 15 years to go to work early so he could be home with his kids in the evening. That's what a man does.
  • thumb
    Jun 4 2013: it means that you are automatically better than any woman, and in a debate with a woman, you are automatically right, and she is wrong.
  • Jun 4 2013: A penis and 18+ ID.
    • Jun 4 2013: That's ridiculous... a sexual organ wouldn't have any pockets for their ID. ;-)
  • thumb
    May 27 2013: My definition, which improves everyday (believe me :D), is:

    Submission* to Allah. Have huge amount of patience. To know you have power to do something and you avoid it just because it is forbidden. Take care of your family.

    [*Submission: To put yourself down to earth.]
  • thumb
    May 27 2013: .
    A man "means" a half of a bio-co-body:

    The husband half is biologically assigned in charge of food-seeking, habitat constructing, defending, donating all kinds of co-body-safety messages ceaselessly to his wife (kissing, embracing, and so on).
    His ability and smartness come mainly from the ceaseless intimate encouragement of the other half of the marriage ---- the wife.
  • thumb
    May 26 2013: the other half of an essential relationship with woman ,and creation. Man is fundamental to life ,primal. That is his biological role. His role in relationship to himself in the collective is a reaction to how able he is to understand his life.
    • May 27 2013: Thank you for your response Carolyn. The female perspective provides a nice counterpoint.

      How is man primal in his biological role?

      Regarding his relationship to himself - Do you think stoicism hinders men from exploring changing male gender roles from a collective male perspective?
      • thumb
        May 27 2013: primal,meaning very important,basisc,essential..not the other definition which is before life occured on the planet..and stoicism in its original definition unfortunately appeals to me ...living in accordance to nature and virtue,,which results in happiness...so I will assume you mean stuckedness or refusing to evolve,change...well here is the heads up on this,,,I know of two male who are stay at home dads.and loving it and doing a great job..one is a photographer and is hesitant to do a spread on his success..he feels it is insignificant..I feel he is a role model,,,I think most men have not seen caretaking done of children by men done historically at this level...see it to believe it...so if you are interested please ask...i will show him this site. Most people are hesitant to change anything without example,men are stuck in their role by this lack of evidence,opportunity.If men saw a movie from ancient Greece why you may not be encouraged to take care of little children,you would gasp in horror regarding cultural practices at this time...also men were tricked,pushed into going into armed combat by the rich and family was ridiculed as an agent for weakening male strength. Your group as a collective should know its roots when it continues to commit to behaviours that diminish your connections to being human...and what price was paid by children and women as a result of this cultural shift. Tell your story...to each other...it is a sad and terrible onethis may inspire you to change...at least the more stoic ones...I am in full support...Look up Zeus...god of the greeks...look up his relationship with boys(sorry its ugly) look up war.and temples and prostiution...its ugly too...this is where from much of the male collective mentality is generating its roles for men..ask yourselves...is this behaviours we choose or were tricked into by corrupt belief...sometimes history can explain how things got so bsd,it illustrates how you are not to blame,and may speak out
  • thumb
    May 26 2013: A Y chromosome. XY or XXY or whatever problems with nondisjunction, as long as there is a Y, biologically you're a male.
    • May 26 2013: I'm glad you didn't shift the question to eidonomy. ;-)
      • thumb
        May 26 2013: *Shudders*

        I get enough of it in biology class.
  • Comment deleted

    • Gord G 50+

      • +1
      May 26 2013: I appreciate your insights LaMar.

      Full development in males is a protracted process. They don't experience a moment as definitive as menarche. I wonder if rite of passage is relevant to male maturation in societies today?

      I agree, the male archetype is changing. I question whether it's changing in reaction to the women's movement or whether males are redefining themselves through introspection? Or does it matter?