Last summer, I was gifted one of the best gifts you can give someone: a book. My big brother, business partner, and mentor, Jay Julien gave me the gift of the polarizing, “male-ego-busting” novel The Mask of Masculinity written by Lewis Howes.
I’ll begin by acknowledging that this book angered the man inside of me. Its intimate and slightly discomforting view of my inner-manhood grievances made this book tough to get through. But, the more I read, the better I felt. Reading Howes’ research and explanations of all of the manhood myths honestly helped me introduce myself to the true me. As men we are told what to see when we look in the mirror. Reading this book helped me to shatter my bad habit of trying to force myself to fit in the world’s view of manhood.
I was reminded of my middle school days where my teachers had called my mother so much that one day, I walked into the office and they were playing spades; the game just started too. I was reminded of my collegiate years where I slept with many women and tried to own the reputation of being a ladies man. Or, the times I tried to command the classroom with one of my jokes. Just feeling the pressures of those moments reminded me of how much I needed to read The Mask of Masculinity. This book shattered those false standards of manhood and introduced me to true manhood; sincerity.
We should work to put an end to gender standards for all. My friends and family hate arguing with me because of what I’m about to say: everything is relative. I firmly believe that no two cases look the exact same. A lot of the societal rules that we govern ourselves with are equally as restricting as they are insightful and create boundaries that can limit us from being the best versions of ourselves. To allow others to live outside of the realms of gender norms is to allow the art of life to shine.