During the week, I saw a poster promoting a major fundraising event. A great cause, no question. The event called for men to don something pink as part of the fundraiser, but it was the main slogan that make me gasp. It said, "Real Men Wear Pink." Real men. Really? In this day and age, are we still putting that load on men? What exactly is a real man? And if you’re not a real man are you then an inadequate wannabe real man? A man in training? Not a whole person? It made me cringe.
A few hours after returning home, I turned on the radio and was met by a song that just added to the cringe worthy concept of what a real man is. “I’ll be your rock…I’ll be the wall that protects you…I’ll defend, I’ll fight.” As I rushed to turn it off I called out for a bucket to be sick in because I realised those words created an image of what a real man was for so many women (and men) all over the world.
These were the qualities of the real man I had searched my entire life for. I grew up listening to songs like this, dreaming of this real man who would come rescue me, who would take away all my pain and who would fight all my battles for me. I searched for this real man for over thirty goddamn years! He never came. He never came because he doesn’t exist.
I now know that if such a man had rushed into my life, scooped me up like Superman protecting Lois Lane, defending me on every level, then instead of displaying a big ‘S’ on his chest, he should instead wear a big ‘E’ on his chest, ‘E’ for ENABLER! I would never have become the capable, courageous, confident woman I am today if I had not learned to become my own rock, my own protector and defend and fight for myself. I am so happy I never found that real man, for his sake and mine, because along the way I found capable me.
Women of the world, if we continue to look for others (particularly men) to solve our problems we simply create more. This includes adding undue pressure to men to be something they are not. The concept of men being stronger, more able, the protector, the provider, has been passed down through the centuries to both sexes. It is embedded in fairy tales that are told to little girls all over the world, effectively telling women they are so fragile and dependent that they need a Prince Charming in their lives, otherwise they will be poor, heartbroken, and lonely forever. But being a Prince Charming, is more akin to being a Prince Harming for both men and women.
If we women can be responsible for ourselves, accept that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment in time and realise that we have the power to solve our own problems, then we can let go of the hereditary expectations of finding a man, a real man to solve everything for us and make our life successful and complete. In return, men can hopefully feel less pressured to be something they are not. They can learn to see themselves as whole, not responsible for everyone and everything, but complete and enough as they are, without any expectation of having to always be a hero.
We are all complete. We have just been fed fairy tale lies for too long by parents, grandparents, society, love songs, movies, and fairy tales! On a subconscious level, some of us may still be locked up in our ivory tower waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming. I know that feeling well, I was there myself for what felt like centuries and I realise now that I could have died there waiting! Turns out the key was always in the lock just waiting to be turned by me!
Why wait for someone to turn the key for you? Why wait for someone to become something they are not? Why create that expectation and burden for yourself and for that someone to come rescue you, when you always have the power to make the change yourself?