Tag Archives: NFL

Terry Crews: What Makes A Man 2014

27 Nov

I was lucky enough to attend the What Makes A Man (#wmam2014) conference in Toronto this week. Thewhat makes a man 2014 two-day conference was stuffed with speakers and presentations discussing the state of masculinity, road maps to manhood, and ending violence against women. There were some excellent discussions and ideas presented by writers such as Rachel Giese and Junior Burchell, a panel on mental health and masculinity, and fantastic closing session with TV actor (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Everybody Hates Chris, Who Wants To Be A Millionare?) , former NFL player, and the Old Spice guy, Terry Crews.

Journalist and TV personality, Nam Kiwanuka, discussed manhood with Crews who spoke very freely about his childhood when he witnessed his father’s violence toward his mother, his anger, his terrible behaviour to his wife and family, and his porn addiction. Now Terry Crews is a man redeemed; he has seen the toxic  masculine code turn him and many other men into a stoic, angry, and aggressive men,and he recognizes how destructive this attitude was to his family. Mr. Crews made no move to hide his tears when he described the pain and the shame of mentally and emotionally abusing his daughter, and the relief that never came the day he beat his father out of revenge for the abuse given to his mother.

As I sat in the third row with tears in my eyes, what I saw before me was not a big, powerful football player or an American TV star. I saw a human being. Terry Crews is a real and grounded man who expresses himself naturally and believes that when men show their true feelings, they display strength, not weakness.

I want you to watch a few minutes of Terry Crews speaking to the Huffington Post. Here, he gives his views on anger, the NFL, Ray Rice, and domestic violence; the toxic mindset of hypermasculinity that teaches men that they are of more worth than women, and his strong belief in gender equality. I’d like to thank Terry for his courage and his inspiration, and bringing gender and masculine violence into the light.


28 Oct

When the weather cools, my hands can get dry and nasty-looking and I know this is not a good reflection on my person, so  on Tuesday I decided it was time for a manicure.

I walked into a local nail shop and sat chatting happily with Alecia who worked on my hands. There was one other customer there having her feet done. A few minutes later, a man came in and made himself at home as his foot bath was prepared.

He knew the woman in the pedicure chair. They chatted a bit then I heard him talking about the NFL players wearing pink shoes and gloves (but he didn’t seem to know that the pink accessories are an NFL breast cancer awareness promotion… interestingly, the CFL isn’t into it – read the CFL commissioner’s reasons here). Anyway, he decided it looked cool and he was going to go out and find himself something hot pink to wear.

“Men should feel comfortable wearing any colour they want,” the feisty older woman in the pedicure chair exclaimed, “and if people don’t like it, tell them to shove it.”

Words of wisdom.

Now, I know many of you are expecting me to write about the pink-blue gender thing here, but I’m saving that for another day. Today it is about masculinity, decisiveness, openness, and belief in oneself because indeed, men should feel comfortable making their own conscious choices for their own selves. They just need some guidance sometimes.

In 2007, I began Canada’s first men’s image quarterly, image inc., where  I conducted a poll asking men the simple question, what is masculinity? I included the most poignant answers in the first issue and share my three favourites with you below:

  • Masculinity is an inner confidence that speaks, I am what I am. (Bobby)
  • Masculinity is fearlessness and the willingness to try new things. (Doug)
  • Masculinity is being secure in the knowledge of who I am without feeling the need to prove it to anyone. (Steve)

Lovely. To the point. Brilliant in quiet strength and contemplation, all. That these men even considered the question let alone answer it is a thing unto itself, I think, and it’s interesting to note that they’re all speaking of the same thing: confidence.

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So what is confidence all about? Being self-assured, knowing that you know? I think that part of being confident comes from having knowledge, awareness, and the skills to do stuff. When my clients want to know something (i.e. how to sew on buttons),  I explain as best as I can because I know this knowledge is empowering and it will increase their confidence and make them more competent and self-reliant. (In 2010, there are more single people in the world than there ever have been in history, so knowing how to take care of yourself is definitely a bonus. Also, men who know how to take care of themselves are impressive, no doubt about that.)

Confident and attractive men often take time and thought to put themselves together, and a well-dressed man must be self-assured enough to be able to handle the attention he’ll attract – women feel very strongly about a sharp dressed man, you know.

Confident people are decided and they don’t care what other people think of them – they are their own person, they are deliberate, and they make their own rules.  A confident man doesn’t doubt who he is, he knows who he is.

Guys with confidence can rock anything. People love a confident man – an authentically confident man, not a puffed-up-because-I-have-more-stuff sort of man. A man with that quiet inner pride like Bobby and Steve mentioned, a man aware of his distinctions, and a man who respects himself.

So if a man is confident, he knows who he is and what he stands for, why wouldn’t he wear pink gloves and pink shoes? Or an ascot? Even a skirt? If a man is confident, he’ll wear whatever he dang-well wants to wear without apology, thank you very much (as in, “Tell them to shove it.”), which I think deserves some respect.

Now that’s confidence.