Astoundingly, there is one thing that Men's Rights Activists have gotten right over the years: the patriarchy doesn't just hurt women. Perceptions of masculinity take a toll on everyone, and nothing illustrates this better than Cut Video's latest clip, in which men discuss what it means to "be a man."
The video asks boys and men between the ages of five and 50 to define the phrase, and the results show that, just like the pressure to conform to an ultra-feminine ideal, indoctrination into the culture of hypermasculinity starts early. When a five-year-old was asked about it, he equated it with acting "tough." Even as the participants got older, the responses generally included an association with strength, sometimes to taken to the point of stoicism. "Toughen up," shrugged a 28-year-old. "Pump some iron?" said another older participant.
The 14-year-old participant's experience with the phrase seems to be a common occurrence. "People have said 'be a man' to me... because I was kind of being a wuss and they basically told me to buck up," he said.
On the other hand, the connection between masculinity and strength isn't always described in a negative light. Men in the video, especially as they get older, frequently associated it with qualities like responsibility and "strength of conviction," as one participant described it.
That being said, at least as many men are aware of the inherent sexism in the phrase. "I feel like it's kinda sexist. When someone says 'be a man'... well, there are strong women as well," the 15-year-old said. Who knew high schoolers were so educated these days?
My favorite response, by far, is from a man in his late twenties. Normally I would summarize, but it's too genius to cut short. "[It's] bullshit," he states. "What does that even mean? ...You know what? Classically, men beat the shit out of women. That's what men have done, and so that's not the kind of man I want to be."
The rest of the video is worth checking out below (although nothing comes close to that guy's reaction, so don't get your hopes up):