What is the definition of a real man?
This is one of those topics that gets a lot of traffic on social media.
I see people share memes all the time talking about what a ‘real man’ is.
Some of them seem reasonable. And others seem quite ridiculous.
So let’s dig into this.
What Classifies A Man As A Man?
First of all, I guess it’s helpful to decide what the technical qualifications are to be a man.
But here, we are already getting into some tumultuous area!
Some might say that a man is a human with a penis and testicles, who was born with XY chromosomes.
A woman, by contrast, is a human born with a vagina and ovaries… who has XX chromosomes.
But see, we are already running into troubling territory with this one.
What about trans men? Trans men may, with all sincerity and depth of being, define themselves as men… even though they were not born with a penis.
But do trans men have a right to do this?
If being a man is purely biological, then people wouldn’t try to associate being a ‘man’ with any sort of ‘moral code.’
And yet… they do.
For example… a man who beats his girlfriend might technically have a penis, but many men and women would tend to agree that he is not a ‘real man.’
As in… “a man who beats his wife/girlfriend is not a real man.”
Such a notion might suggest that it is not, therefore, the existence of a penis that makes you a real man… but that there is some kind of moral component or requirement that either overrides the biological factors, or that is at least as important as them, in determining who is a man and what that means.
And so, by this standard, we can see that it is, perhaps, more the behavior of the man that determines whether or not he is ‘truly a man’ than what is between his legs.
But Here Is An Even Bigger Question To Ponder… Why Do You Care?
This might sound sarcastic… but I actually mean it in a very literal way.
Different people will have different definitions of what constitutes a ‘real man’ based on what they are trying to accomplish by even making the statement.
- A psychiatrist might want to know that the masculine figure you claim to talk to on a regular basis is in fact a ‘real’ man, for example, to rule out the possibility that you hallucinated him.
- A surgeon may need to know if you are a real ‘man’ so that he knows what body parts he is dealing with, what to expect when he goes into the operating room, what medication he should prescribe after, etc.
- A person might want to know if the ‘man’ they are dating has a penis or a vagina, if they have a preference for one or the other in a sexual partner… and so, the term ‘real man’ might mean something completely different to this person.
- And last, but certainly not least… a man might want to know the definition of a real man so that he knows if he is doing what he should be doing as a man, on this planet, living amongst humans, pursuing his purpose and trying to make sense of everything going on around him.
… and so on and so on.
So you can see that the question of ‘what is a real man’ is highly subjective, based on the viewpoint of the person asking the question, and what they mean by the question to begin with.
What are you trying to discover by asking this question?
I would encourage you to really think about this question for a moment… to take a step back and view yourself in the ‘context’ of what you are trying to figure out for yourself.
What Most People Actually Mean When They Talk About The Definition Of A Real Man
Alright. We’ve talked about how the idea of being a ‘real man’ is quite subjective.
But I also know that most people, when asking this question, are basically trying to place some kind of definitive identity on what being a man actually means.
This identity may take into account many different factors. It may ask questions about biology, purpose, societal expectations, masculinity, gender norms, gender roles, cultural moral beliefs, etc.
And so, we come to a point where defining what it means to be a ‘real man’ is mostly reliant upon the context of the question.
What Is My Definition Of A Real Man?
Let’s cut to the chase.
Here is what I think about the definition of a real man.
I have put a lot of thought into this, and I believe that the proper definition will cut through the cultural lines of different societies and be relevant to any and all people.
Here is how I would define a real man. A real man…
- Proclaims himself a man and owns that title, despite what anyone else says about him
- Does his best to be self-reliant and self-sufficient
- Will not be swayed by the opinions of others. He validates himself… he does not require the validation of others to stand upright and do what he believes to be right
- Does what he believes to be the right thing to do, even in difficult circumstances
- Is willing to go to war to defend what he loves or believes in, even if that idea scares him
- Cultivates kindness and respect to the highest degree possible for him, and takes up the mantle of leadership for his tribe and community… becoming a pillar that makes the world a better place, and that other people can lean on
Of course, I am not the first one to have such ideas. Articles like this one, published by The Modern Man, do a great job of describing what being a ‘real man’ is all about.
But in viewing such ideals, we can see that the definition of a real man is truly rooted in how much he cares about his character, and how hard he works to be the kind of human that makes the world a better place for others.
It is also rooted in him striving to be the best version of himself possible, in every context and category.
How Is Masculinity Defined?
Masculinity, in my way of thinking, means to embrace yourself as a man, regardless of what anyone else thinks of you.
Some people think that masculinity is all about having body hair, large muscles, and a big beard.
Some may think that it is all about wearing a certain style, or speaking, talking, or walking a certain way.
Some might think that it is all about societal gender roles.
Well, with all respect and with all of the kindness I can convey over a blog post, I say fuck all of that.
In fact… I dare say that any man who puts other men down for how they dress, or tries to tell other men that they are not ‘real men’ for something like the way they talk, the way they walk, and even whether or not they were actually born with a penis… well, I would tell that man that he has a lot to learn about what it truly means to be a powerful alpha.
Being a man is all about being the best version of yourself that you can possibly be, while also claiming the mantle of ‘manhood’ and ‘masculinity.’
And in all honesty, if a ‘real man’ realized that another man around him was having doubts about his own masculinity, he would come alongside him and help him.
To be a man is a great responsibility. In my way of thinking, being a male is automatic for those born with a dick between their legs. But becoming a man in life has very little to do with this.
Sure, there is an overlap. There tend to be common issues that natural-born males will experience as men, and trans men may deal with different issues. But I also do not think that trans men should feel excluded from being able to claim the mantle of ‘manhood’ just because they were not born with a penis.
And I don’t think that having a penis qualifies you to be a ‘great man,’ by any stretch of the imagination.
It is much more dependent on the strength of your resolve, your character, your ideals, how you deal with fear in your life, and what kind of difference you make in the lives of the people around you.
It also has much more to do with how you use your energy in the world, whether or not you have a purpose, and whether or not you choose to pursue that purpose with strength-of-will, consistency, and fortitude.
What Is A Great Man?
A great man is a man who masters himself.
A great man is a man who understands what he believes a true man to be… and works to successfully embody those characteristics consistently, day after day.
He makes the world a better place for the people around him… whether that is two people, ten people, or ten thousand people.
The numbers aren’t what matter. It is what you do with what you have that counts.
And I will be honest… those are difficult goals. These goals are difficult for me every single day, and I know that they are difficult for other men as well.
Being a powerful alpha male isn’t easy. Being a great man isn’t easy.
But it can be done… and I believe that it is not only in our best interest to try to accomplish it, but also that we owe it to ourselves to do the self-work that is needed to get to that place.
I believe that Jordan Peterson, whom I consider to be one of the greatest thinkers in modern times, has a wonderful way to describe what it means to strive for greatness and strength.
I would love to see all men aspire to be great men. And I talk a lot about the fact that men need to grow their resources, practice attraction, and cultivate a kingdom for themselves in this world… to be an alpha male, the kind of men that women actually want…
But at the end of the day, nothing can replace the simple pride and strength of being true to yourself. This is a prerequisite for everything else in life that is worthwhile.
And ironically, it is this very same strength that is required of us if we are going to go on and accomplish truly great things.
To be a man means two things… that you strive every day to be a great human, and that you claim for yourself the title of ‘man.’
If you define yourself as a man, I am in your corner and I support that.
But I will also challenge you… because I believe that all men should strive for greatness in their lives.
And as a man, I expect you to challenge yourself as well.
That’s what it takes to be real, to be strong, and to be truly great.
Hopefully this message came through clearly.
If you have any questions, please drop a comment and let me know.
At the end of the day, being a real man is all about fearlessness and pursuing what you believe to be right.
For more clarification about what I believe to be the path of the true alpha male, take a look at the Oath of Kings… the alpha male code that I choose to live my life by.
You can also read more about my own alpha male journey here.
I hope that you go with grace, and find freedom and power in your search to become a ‘real man’ as you would define it.
There is so much power and pride to be found in being true to yourself… and that is what I want for every man in the world.
Never give up your power, my brothers.
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus