How to build our manhood in modern times

  • February 12, 2015
  • News

símbolo-masculino-4253933Discussions on the sphere of masculinity in Latin America have once again gained strength. The V International Symposium of studies on men and masculinity took place from the 14th to 16th of January at the University of Chile, and became a space that revived the issue of machismo and masculinity in Latin America. It concluded that manhood, in Latin American, is a construction that generates different identities or representations of what means being a man.

The several discussions of the Symposium are summarized in an article entitled “Manhood: how to build our manhood in times of feminism”. This brought us close to the possibility of a new manhood. However, there is a subject barely discussed in those studies and, it is about stories of life of men that tell how they have determined their learning of a natural man, allowing themselves to build a new manhood.

For instance, the stories of life of men with HIV have broaden the understanding of gay men’s sexuality. Through those stories, we have known the experience of men that have confronted the difficulties of a HIV diagnosis, and how they have allowed themselves to talk of it to other people. This sexuality approach from men’s perspective shows that talking about sexuality is something normal, and it highlights the importance of knowing our bodies. This makes it clear that men in particular should talk about their sexuality, asking themselves questions such as why do I feel this? Or why it is so hard for me to cry?

For years, traditional manhood has been characterized by a silence resulting in an effect of naturalness or essence. This means that the notion of naturalness in manhood has had an unfavorable impact on the practices of HIV prevention.

A HIV prevention strategy in the topic of manhood is to facilitate men to develop personal resources that allow themselves to negotiate their sexuality and talk about it in a natural way. Both exercises require necessarily a questioning of the practices of traditional manhood, such as “men don’t cry”, “men don’t show their feelings”, and being in a constant competition.

Finally, the middle point between manhood and HIV insists that the success of HIV prevention is not only providing tools to allow people to improve their sexual practices such as condom or other inputs of prevention, the point also lies in the emotional resources such as the increase in the perception of their health care or increasing their self-esteem.