When does the boy become the man?

tumblr_lnkbihkohA1qzrvnlAfter asking this question to several men, I have to admit I continue to be unsure. Maybe, it’s not for me to completely understand, due to being a woman. I feel as though women should have some grasp of the meaning of manhood, after all we are mothers and wives of men. For many women, men are their leaders, the decision maker. For some, lies contempt. Who better to ask ,at what point does a boy become a man, then the man himself.

 “When I joined the army. When I made that decision, and signed the paper.” Age 36

 “When assuming responsibility. He can pay his own bills, leaving his mom and dad, starting their own way in life. Getting your own and paying for it.” Age 55

 “A boy becomes a man when he is ABLE, AND WILLING to stand up for his beliefs, his boyish thoughts becomes those of a RESPONSIBLE MAN his actions will show. Every action, HAS TO BE in line with a man’s thought process, and his motives have to be genuine. Like I tell my daughter, if he has a problem with the five basic rules of English ( who, what, when, where, and how.) Nine times out of ten he ain’t shit. That is the problem that most women have. They don’t ask these BOYS the five most important question in the English language that WILL help her see right through the representative, (the so-called man he wants you to see). So when you hit him with the five questions, and he say….see, uuu, I, uuu, what had happened was. You say see you later, and go grow up.” Age 43

I sometimes wonder while men are raising their daughters. Is he subconsciously attempting to protect her from the man he used to be or the man he is today. Is he teaching his daughter to marry the type of man better than he will ever be? This may or may not be the case, but I am curious of the motive.

 “I had my first child at 15. When in my thirties I realized I was not a man. I thought I was a man because I had a child.” 42

 “Most males believe they’ve reached manhood when their curiosities and fantasies about sex becomes a reality. But there are many mentally maturing factors that determine true transition from a boy to a man not just a single angle…best I can say; the transition should be noticeable.” Age 36

 “When he learns and displays accountability, responsibility, and belief…I think belief plays a huge part in all growth processes.” Age 29

Miao boys in Basha village undergo a shaving ceremony rite of passage as they near adulthood.

Miao boys in Basha village undergo a shaving ceremony rite of passage as they near adulthood.

For many I noticed responsibility, accountability, and children seemed to be high on the list when determining manhood. Is it possible for a male to be financially responsible and not be a man? He can leave the nest, take care of his own, and still not exhibit manhood. Maybe some of the men I know and don’t know didn’t take the time to respond to my question because he finds difficulty in justifying his manhood. Is this an underline issue among men in America? Especially for men whom are ethnically, socially, financially, or intellectually inferior. Prisons and county jails are filled with “men”, possibly establishing an entirely different ideal of manhood when living behind bars. Can one be stripped of his manhood? It makes me think of the African male slave, during the Atlantic Slave Trade. Many times he could not protect his wife, his mother, and his children from possibly being raped or sold. How did those men sustain manhood? The great United States is mostly led by men; prostitute buying, cocaine sniffing, adulterous, in the closet, embezzling, womanizing, sexist men; interestingly, creating laws and policies greatly impacting women’s lives, based upon a male chauvinist influenced, social perspective of manhood.

There are many great men in our society, and many of these men we regularly interact with . We all, including women create our own perspective defining manhood. Although we have an idea of what manhood is, I’m sure there are many opinions of what manhood is not. I feel women play a very important role in the process of manhood; encouraging learning, application, growth, and progression.

“There are as many views and or answers to this question as there are cultures and ethnicities. There are in many cultures rites of passage into manhood where the young man has to perform some feat, and at the end of the initiation process he transitions into manhood. In my humble opinion a boy becomes a man when he begins to recognize his own peculiar responsibilities and begins to as they say handle his business. This is my perspective on manhood and of course perspectives are subjective and many.

Maasi Tribe, a nomadic group of African tribes deems a lion hunt as a rite of passage.

African nomadic group, the Maasi Tribe, deems a lion hunt as a rite of passage.

When the boy begins to understand responsibility and accountability for his actions and the repercussions of the same; when he assumes the role of providing for himself and his offspring, whether they are planned or unplanned he is at least becoming a man, when he can be depended upon, leaned upon and credible. Manhood is not necessarily a particular age but rather a state of mind. Therefore being a man is more than muscles and masculinity. It is to cleanup your own mess if you happen to make one; and as much as you can, stand on your own two feet.

There are countless volumes that should be written on this subject, perhaps this is the first of thousands to come. I might add that becoming a man is in my humble opinion is a perpetual process. I suppose that inside of every mans mind is fear, doubt, and truth all mixed up into one individual who knows deep down inside that even as a so-called real man,  he is lacking much of what he projects to society. The views on such a question approach the infinite in submissions, we speculate and theorize but God knows.”  ELK

**A special thanks to all men who took the time to take part in my survey**

-Noni Ayana

One thought

  1. I agree with your statement: Manhood is not necessarily a particular age but rather a state of mind. Therefore being a man is more than muscles and masculinity. It is to cleanup your own mess if you happen to make one; and as much as you can, stand on your own two feet.

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