Friday, December 14, 2007

Be A Man: The Manthem and Manhood

So my next big thing is dealing with Manhood. I will call these posts Be A Man. It is interesting that most of the commenter's on my blog have been women. It makes me feel like a real ladies man, in a good manly kind of way. I have a few posts about manhood that will be coming in the next few weeks, before my grand opus, which will be a series of posts on Fear. Until then I present to you Be A Man.

Reposted Post from May 2007

Of late there have been a number of commercials and pup culture shows that have tapped into the desire of males to be manly. There are some that actually do well in either being comical of male stereotypes and phobias and there are others that simply push the edge. Over the years I have known women who act as if we men are hard to understand, but I believe that we men are not so hard to understand. All a woman has to do is look a little deeper.

The Manthem

The above video of the Burger King Texas Double Whopper provides and interesting piece to analyze for this article. When I first saw this commercial, there were three thoughts that went through my mind.

1) This is one of the funniest commercials I have ever seen.

2) I wish I could have been in that crowd of men when they filmed the commercial.

3) I am really hungry. I need food NOW!

Being Jewish, and in America at that time, of course I could not and would not go out and eat at Burger King because it is not Kosher and the burger itself with bacon in it is of course not kosher. Yet, the themes in the commercial did strike a certain cord within me, and I could not stop watching it. I liked it for a number of reasons, but most of all it really tapped into the whole primal needs of men concept. Hunger, strength, and the need to connect with other men of strength. There also was the underlying feeling that we as men need to show off these three things publicly.

Women are often tickled at how even grown men can be child-like in regular life, especially when it comes to being around other men. For example, when my cousin and I get together our favorite pass time is making jokes, laughing, and watching cartoons. I am in my 30's and he is in his early 40's. His wife always walks away shaking her head at our humor, but it this form of male bonding that I believe is beneficial to women also. I believe it is our oddities that is also what attracts women to us. It is only a matter of understanding it.

At the same time, I also see similar child-like attributes when a group of women get together. Their mannerisms and the bonds they share have similar patterns in how young girls play together and socialize. It begs the question of where do these kind of influences come from? Do children learn them from watching adults, or do adults carry them on from normal child like behavior? The classic which came first the chicken or the egg?

Men have the same developments as we get older. Elements of our playing as young children are evident in our relationships as adults. I have seen older men get together, and interact in ways that remind me of how young boys interact. Of course the conversations are different, and there may be less hitting and wrestling (maybe) but the type of bonds are often the same. Bonds of power, strength, humor, self promotion, and solidarity.

The Manthem commercial also, taps into the concept of men running together in droves and packs behind a common banner. When one man sees a group of men that he can relate to and emulate, he often wants to be a part of the group. It is a powerful motivator to walk with other men for a common cause. To share in their victories makes us also appear victorious.

What has to be understand is that we men have strengths and we also have our weaknesses. Yet, every man wants to on some level feel as if he has conquered something and lacking this often bruises elements of our innate ego. There is also a need for us to be perceived and received as Alpha males amongst women as well as our fellow men. This is a big ego boost when like minded men gather together to exude our common manhood. This is especially true when we do so in the view of women that we have feelings for or are trying to impress. Thus there are men who play sports with the sole purpose of showing off in front of women. The idea being that women are attracted to those males who are able to perform boldly on the physical battlefield as well as in the mental battle of wills.

The Manthem commercial touches on the feeling that some males in today's societies have that their strengths are being taken away from them. It details the struggles that modern men have in societies where being manly has no real physical meaning. This simple, but complex, commercial also for me explores the search for a new meaning of manhood. What are its ideals and what banner can men of all cultures and ethnicities unite around? How has manhood progressed from the past to the present? How does manhood differ from cultures and religions?

There are men who long for a past, that many of us may not have even survived. That past is of the skilled warrior who lived, breathed, and survived based on his strength and wits. Gone are the days of the Gibor, the Adir, Samurai, the Ninja, the Knight, Barbarian and the Warrior for the most part. Yet, not all male societies focused on this as the sole definition of manhood. In Biblical times it was a mix of the Gibor, a man of physical strength who at the same time was learned in the ways of God and the ways of life. A Jewish man in those times could be a warrior, a scholar, a philosopher, and a follower of ethics. Maybe it is the ethical battle that is missing from many of our lives, and maybe this is the new definition of Manhood.


Spirited Strider said...

I enjoyed this post and I chuckled at the thought of a group of men together, acting manly to impress women. I recently met a very sweet Jewish man, who is a Holocaust survivor. He touched my soul, and I wrote about him on my blog on the Dec. 9th posting. Happy Hanukkah!

Ehav Ever said...

Yeah, I remember when I was younger a majority of what we did from the way we dressed to the cologne we wore was to impress women. As we get older I believe that we don't stray far from that. I have many older men who still try to look manly in front of their wives. Thanks for the Hannukkah wish. I will check out your post.

diva said...

This post was neat. I like reading your blog because of posts like these. Never really thought before about why men felt the need to be 'manly'.
Hanukkuh wishes!

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Diva,

Thanks for the praise. Yes, the need to be manly is something that is important to us all. Thanks for the Hanukah wishes. Stay tuned I have a few more.

Lisa said...

Because my dad was both very manly and honest, he made sure my sister and I understood this need in men. My sister and I often joke about how we "can't open the pickle jar" unless there are no men around. . . :)

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

nice post. i write about manhod and fatherhood all the time

Ehav Ever said...

Lisa - It is good to know that the men in your life have a purpose and a mission. The opening of pickle jars is no task to take lightly. Where would the world be without pickles and the men that open the jars. (smile)

Torrence - Thanks for stopping by. I will check out your blog to find the manhood and fatherhood articles.