The phrase "man up" can be damaging to males. This small and vague phrase is used to discourage emotion and promote destructive behaviors such as male dominance and homophobia.
But today the definition of masculinity is constantly being reevaluated. While what defines men is continually evolving, there are some core characteristics that the modern man can rely on as a standard of excellence.
Here are 11 things that every real man does:
1. Asks for directions
We know you'll locate it eventually but that doesn't mean there's any shame in asking how to get there a little faster. A real man's pride isn't diminished by asking for help when he needs it.
The way a man treats his mother is very telling about the kind of person he is. He cares about her, and he respects her. He worries for her and is grateful for her.
3. Doesn't look at pornography
In and of itself, pornography is not real. What's on the screen is a fabricated reality. The people have had plastic surgery and are photoshopped; the scenes are edited to make things that hurt women look pleasurable. Because pornography is not real, a real man does not watch it. Instead he is an advocate for women and respects them unconditionally.
4. Can cook
Humans need food to survive and men happen to be human. A real man doesn't rely on restaurants or his lady to do the cooking for him. He doesn't have to be an extraordinary cook, but he can at least heat up a chicken breast with some barbecue sauce and salt and pepper, with some green beans to go with it.
5. Is faithful
Whether it's with small things like taking out the trash when he says he will, or with big things like being loyal in a relationship, a real man is true to his word and doesn't give someone reason to doubt it.
If he slips on ice in front of a crowd of people, or if he accidentally says something dumb, he sees the humor in the situation. A real man doesn't take himself too seriously.
7. Has aspirations
A real man is passionate about something, and he lets that passion drive his goals. He isn't content to just sit and wait for things to happen to him. A real man sets goals for himself and does everything he can to realize them.
8. Is a good parent
Even if he doesn't have any kids yet, a real man is concerned about his future children and doing what he can today to prepare to parent them.
An inherent characteristic of men is their potential as fathers. A real man is aware of that and strives to be a loving parent who provides for the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of his children.
9. Learns from his mistakes
More than just realizing that forgetting to put the milk back in the fridge isn't alright, a real man looks for things that he isn't very good at because he knows that seeing his weaknesses is the stimulus for improving himself.
10. Is not ruled by insecurities
Having insecurities doesn't make him less masculine because he doesn't allow them to drive his actions. For example, even if he feels like he's an awful conversationalist, he doesn't let that get in the way of caring for other people and strives to focus on them instead of himself when he talks to others.
11. Doesn't need to prove he's a 'real man'
A real man doesn't feel pressure to assert his masculinity. He doesn't need to show he's the alpha male. He is confident in who he is regardless of what others think.