The men in our lives or the boys we’ve hung out with as kids have all been criticised at some point for crying in public or showing any kind of emotion. “Stop being a girl,” they’ve been told. And if you’re a man, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Chances are you’ve used these terms yourselves!
When they’re growing up, boys are taught not to express too much. It’s not manly enough. It’s social conditioning that teaches them to repress their emotions. To leave that bit for the girls. To ‘man up’.
But what does society want men to be? To not feel anything? To not be human?
Changing the narrative by urging all men to ask themselves questions that matter, a 16-year-old has destroyed all notions of masculinity.
Simar Singh’s poem, How To Be A Man, addresses socially constructed notions attached to manhood and hits the right chord.
Simar talks about being told at the tender age of six that he would soon be the ‘man of the house’ and that neither should men feel nor should they cry.
“He’s broken down and yet he smiled,
He’s owned his moustache, but he’s still a child.”
Dedicating the poem to ‘every father, every brother and every son, who wets his pillows so many times and yet he’s woken up just fine’, Simar’s poem implores men to break the silence and finally talk about the mental violence that they’re subjected to.
You can watch the entire poem performed by the poet here:
Simar Singh is the founder and curator of UnErase Poetry, an online community that promotes and produces spoken word poetry.
You can reach out to UnErase Poetry at firstname.lastname@example.org.