5: Who Cares and Why? / by LaQuann Dawson

Ever since I can remember, masculinity has been questioned and challenged. Both mine and the men around me. For some reason, unknown to me, when someone challenges or goes against the typical idea of what a man is supposed to be, or of how a man is supposed to act, the world starts to crumble just a little bit. Or so it seems. While I like to believe that I live in a progressive society that is open to change, I cannot help but remember and acknowledge all of the criticism I have been exposed to directed toward men who don't fit a certain mold. As with women, men are born and immediately assigned a role. Immediately wrapped in a blue blanket because that is a "boy" color. We are raised to believe that playing sports makes us more of a man and that liking something artistic like dance or painting makes you feminine or even gay.

T-Shirt from BooHoo (boohoo.com) -- Photo by Me (laquanndawson.com)

Masculinity has never been so fragile to the point where a shower loofah needs to be labeled for men because it is apparently not very manly to use a loofah. If we want to wear tights or leggings they need to be called "meggings". Flowers belong to women. Fashion belongs to women. Caring about your skin is feminine. Candles belong to women. Having the pink iPhone 6 is some kind of rebel against society that makes men feel guilty. I won't go any deeper than this for now.

I am not sure what the purpose of my rant is but I truly wonder....who cares and why? In my youth I even judged people on things like this and while I am well beyond that phase of life I still wonder why did I even care? A man wearing a pink shirt shouldn't disrupt another man's (or woman's) day or even life. This can go with anything I suppose but I have a terrible time understanding why a person who is happy and confident (dare I say brave) enough to express themselves a certain way, without harming anyone, becomes a danger to society somehow. None of us asked to be born at all and it seems a little unfair that we are immediately told how to live our lives.

When I was very young my favorite color was pink. For years and years, I loved pink flamingos, my favorite power ranger was the pink one, yaddi yadda. I was criticized and questioned so often because there was a color that made me happy. What the hell? Criticized to the point where I didn't even want to like the color anymore. I started feeling ashamed for this as if I were doing something wrong or harmful. I started to lie and convince myself that I liked red or blue more. I am happy to say that I now could not care less about that sort of criticism and I do not feel like less than a man for liking shit.

A big thank you to the great people of the internet and to celebrity youth who have made it okay to be yourself, carefree, unapologetic and still confident.

A lot of my opinions here parallel toward other topics like feminism, religion, politics and more. The purpose of this post was not to upset anyone, so I hope that does not happen but I will not be apologizing because I am not sorry. Even still, no disrespect to anyone or their views, just sharing mine.

Stay lit,

- Lackwhen