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  • Writer's pictureBryan Jun

being a male in 2021

I think in an age with a hyper-focus on being a minority (in any definition of the word), there hasn't been much time or effort spent on my identity as a male. I can already sense some of my audience feeling nervous by reading the title alone - don't worry this isn't going to be an "ignorant article talking about how being a male in 2021 is difficult too!" (maybe this will come later). Today I want to reflect on a list of things that I feel like pertain to me being a man and take the time to think about how I feel about my gender. Hopefully the rest of what I'm about to say doesn't deserve a trigger warning. In order to please everyone, I'll try to find a relatively fair balance between items that are stereotypically not associated with males and vice-versa.

  1. I don't like watching sports - at least not on television, especially if it's not Korea in the World Cup. I never really understood the thrill of following sports religiously and getting into heated arguments about people throwing balls around. The same people who make 7+ figures a year, use their marketing abilities to fight for some people's rights and stay silent on others (looking at you Lebron!) and will never know you exist or support them aggressively. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't really enjoy spending time watching something where another person is the center of attention. I would argue that as human beings we're all innately selfish and there's no genuine inner desire for someone else to be on the receiving end of attention, especially if it will never be reciprocated. I'd be lying if I said I don't watch my own Youtube videos (and this is a big part of the reason I make them). I really don't understand people that support teams and players they have absolutely no relation to, with the biggest example being Americans that have a favorite soccer (football) team abroad. The weird pride that people have in memorizing game and player stats really confuse me. If you can't pronounce the team's name, you probably shouldn't be supporting them.

  2. My parents never forced me to like Legos or hate Barbies - I don't think I've been brainwashed by Disney Channel or advertisements either. Obviously a subjective perspective on my childhood that can never be proven or disproven, but I think I always liked Legos and building blocks. I don't recall a time where my parents told me to stop playing with dolls or resist playing pretend (which I liked a lot and usually took on the role of "main child" or "dog" in the family). I'm sure there are families that restrict their boys from wearing pink and would prefer their girls to wear dresses over pants, but I don't think my parents fall into this group and I'm of the belief that most of what kids want is innate.

  3. I'm great relating to people emotionally - I've never had trouble empathizing with someone and I'd argue this is one of my few strengths. It's worked out quite well for me as I was a resident adviser in college and continue to do so as I work with colleagues and talk to family and friends. It wasn't difficult for me to express emotion at an early age either - if anything I often got into conflicts with friends and family because I was being too expressive and failed to hold things in. I relate to people constantly, even if I don't know them well - this is perhaps one of my biggest vulnerabilities and strengths (if I were to align my strengths with career goals, I'd probably be a school counselor or stand-up comic).

  4. I enjoy holding the door - the person I'm holding the door for doesn't have to be a girl, I just think it's a cool and polite thing to do. And in terms of efficiency, especially if I'm someone new to a place, I don't want to be the first person in. As a control freak, I think it also helps to know that my entire group or the companion I'm with isn't falling behind and keeping a headcount of everyone going in or leaving a space is always helpful and a byproduct of holding the door open. I won't talk on this point too much because I haven't heard the "holding the door open is sexist" argument since this insane talk I was in during college.

  5. I like talking about problems without seeking a solution - this is probably the biggest meme when comparing men and women. I recall seeing a video (I believe it was a commercial for insurance(?)) where a woman had a giant nail on her forehead and just wanted to talk to her boyfriend about how she hasn't been feeling great recently to which the boyfriend is dying to let her know about the nail and all she wants to do is discuss. I cackled at this and thought I related so much to the guy (I was in a relationship at the time) but as I become more mature, I fully understand the need for this and sometimes want it myself.

  6. I don't enjoy video games - because I suck at them.

Proud to be a man in 2021, looking forward to the rest of being a male for life!

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