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We live in troubled times, this much is true.
From political unrest to social upheaval, and from a monumental shift in traditional societal roles to an uncertain future, it’s no surprise that more and more people are struggling to find their place in the world, and searching for ways to redress imbalances and right age-old wrongs.
Here at Egard Watch Company, we’ve seen a great many changes arise even across our recent history. While many of the transformations we’ve witnessed in society have been positive, we remain concerned by the continued demonization of masculinity and fatherhood, and we cannot help but worry about the world in which the boys of today are growing up; a world in which men’s achievements are undervalued, their nature viewed with automatic suspicion, and in which there hangs a heavy cloud of shame of so much which should be celebrated about masculinity.
Our video on masculinity below:
The cries of ‘toxic masculinity’ have rung out loud and clear for the best part of the past decade. There’s little doubt about the fact that certain behaviors, exhibited by certain individuals, sit a long, long way from anything we would consider gentlemanly decorum. Indeed, we wouldn’t argue that deplorable actions and gender-based hatred towards women should ever be excused… but hasn’t it become the case that ‘positive masculinity’ - all of those things that make men special, and which have seen them further our civilization as we know it - has become almost non-existent in our media, in our schools, and in our culture?
Changing the Narrative on Toxic Masculinity
The notion that men and boys should somehow be ashamed not only of their gender, but of the aspects of masculinity which should absolutely be championed and celebrated, is nothing short of absurd, and - as many of the most depressing statistics surrounding male mental health issues show in bold black and white - a source of absolute devastation. We owe it to the current and future generation of men and boys to condemn toxicity with one hand… but to celebrate and further positivity in the other. Only in this way can we nurture those wonderful and praise-worthy aspects of manliness for the years to come, and only in this way can we further the cause for equality, as well as men’s health, fairness, and the happiness and wellbeing of our brothers and sons.
The subject of positive masculinity is a broad one, and not something that can easily be reduced to a handful of pithy quotes or notions. However, let’s take a closer look at five points which we feel exemplify the essence of positive masculinity, and counteract many of the negative claims we’ve become all too accustomed to hearing and reading.
Your Masculinity is What You Are, Not What You Are Not
Sexism is deplorable. Male violence is deplorable. Ignorance and hatred is deplorable. Every man of any worth knows these things implicitly, and yet those of us working to end such negative traits and associations can easily fall into a trap: of identifying ourselves in terms of what we do not wish to be, and forgetting to focus on the things we are, the things we can be, and the things we want to become.
This is one of the key issues behind the rallying call of ‘toxic masculinity’; that men and boys fail to realize their potential as men, as a result of focusing on the aspects of masculinity they are told to avoid and reject. Being a man is, at its essence, about remaining optimistic in the face of adversity, and about not only bettering oneself but also having the chance and the opportunity to show the results of that betterment.
By celebrating positive male role models, and ensuring their visibility, accessibility, and viability, we can help change the narrative which sees men and boys as fundamentally flawed and in need of improvement.
The Essence of Resilience
We often use the word ‘strength’ to describe positive male traits, but we’d argue that strength always relies on context, and has a negative association that doesn’t fit the message we’re trying to put across.
Resilience, however, takes the essence of male strength and provides it with a context which is more than fitting for the modern male landscape. Resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks, to ask for help when help is needed, and to learn from failure and to rise from it and try again. Anyone can be tough enough to overcome difficulties given the right stimulus, yet the best of men have the resilience to learn from those difficulties, and then use their wisdom and experience to help those around them.
In this sense, resilience is a male trait truly worth celebrating. It is the ability to do the right thing for those we care about, no matter how hard or dark the road becomes.
Dependability and the Strength to Support
We can never shield those we care about from every possible danger; there will always be setbacks in life, and there will always be hard lessons to learn.
Men, and especially fathers, however, are dependable. They are people to rely upon, they have your back in times of need. While - from time to time - this can mean fighting your corner or offering protection from the front, it can also mean standing behind those they love the most, nudging them forwards when it’s time to face their difficulties.
Compassion and Comfort
Men might not always be the best at expressing emotions, but they’re always there when others need a helping hand. Compassion is about reaching out to those in need, and having the sense and decency to keep a distance when people need space, too.
Courage Against the Odds
There’s a common misunderstanding when it comes to courage and bravery; two terms which have plenty of similarities, but one significant difference. Bravery is all about not feeling fear, while courage is about being afraid, but doing the right thing regardless.
Throughout history, men’s courage has seen us through the very worst of times, and their sacrifices have shaped the world as we know it today. We need to teach the next generation of men that fear isn’t something to be afraid of in itself, and nor is it something that should be ignored. When we know what the right action to take is, we are driven to push ahead and ensure that such action is taken… no matter what stands in our path. That’s the essence of positive masculinity, right there.
The world today often seems like a hostile place in which to be a man, to celebrate masculinity, and to pass on the wisdom of our fathers to the next generation of young men. However, with a positive attitude and an enduring optimism, and by standing up for what we know is right, the future of men - and the future of everyone around us - will surely be an empowered, fair, and bright one.