What does it mean to be a man?

We asked our community what being a man means to them.

International Men's Day

We're celebrating what it means to be a man in 2019

Did you know that on average 12 men each day take their own lives, and 31% of men said they would be too embarrassed to seek help for a mental health problem? We know that being male is complex, and on International Men’s Day, it’s important to highlight the different issues and challenges which so many young men face.

From toxic masculinity, body image and the pressure to sleep around, to facing criminalisation, homelessness and more, men need our support. If you identify as male, remember that no problem or issue is insurmountable. You are valued and important. If you’re struggling and need to talk, here’s how The Mix can help.

We asked some of the brilliant young men in our community what being a man in 2018 means to them:

Men and emotional health

“Men are opening up about their emotions and mental health. It’s important that we continue to see men being more honest about their wellbeing.” Scott, 23

“Being a man is difficult. Being ‘male’ can be a matter of fact, but being a man feels more like a matter of opinion. A lot of what relates to being a man can be both suffocating and unattainable.” Anick, 23

“Being a man in 2018 means being comfortable with a much broader idea of masculinity. The ideas about what makes a man feel a lot less restrictive than they were in the past. It‘s much more acceptable for men to openly express their emotions, talk about how we’re feeling, be caring and not fit into traditional ideas of what makes a man. There’s still a long way to go, but this is a really positive development in the right direction.” Will, 24 

Men and societal expectations

“Is there a norm for men or women? Men’s role in the domestic sphere has changed most noticeably in the past year. As the terminology about ‘being a man’ changes, we’ll have to absorb the new reality.”Adam, 22

“As a gender we’re facing accountability we’ve never had to face before in the era of #MeToo, but we’re also being given the opportunity to redefine ourselves and reap the benefits of being more in-tune with the emotions of us and others.” Mike, 22

Being a man, and being yourself

“For me, being a man is about self-discovery, building self-awareness, emotional intelligence and most importantly, my legacy.” Jack, 22

“Being a man to me means being unapologetically you. It means not being afraid to show the world who you are, exactly as you are. Being a man is never Being afraid to show your emotions, to be the little spoon and to ask for help when you need it. Being a man in 2018 means rejecting toxic masculinity, embracing the differences of others and uplifting those around you.” Stevie, 26

Next Steps

  • CALM is dedicated to preventing male suicide. Call their national helpline for free on 0800 58 58 58, 5pm-midnight, or visit their webchat service .
  • The Men's Advice Line offers support for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner, ex-partner or other family members. Call the confidential free helpline on 0808 801 0327, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 19-Nov-2018