“Be yourself, man. Whatever that is.”

It’s international men’s day today. This, on masculinity, is very good.

There’s nothing wrong with masculinity. But to be a man often means trying to live up to a very narrow definition of what masculinity means, and that can be suffocating if you don’t fit that definition.

Fraser Stewart articulates it very well in this video: by all means be stoic and strong if that’s who you want to be, but don’t try to be somebody you aren’t.

These expectations [of strength and stoicism] are dangerous for the men who feel sad, or feel lonely, or anxious, or depressed, but who have been told throughout their life that to be a man you have to bottle up your feelings, that this is an intrinsic part of your masculinity.

It’s not easy to be a man or a boy, but sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to be sad, to be a man who doesn’t fit in a narrow box marked “stiff upper lip”.