Are you man enough?

Before you answer it, what does it mean to be a man? Justin Baldoni, a.k.a Rafael in Jane the Virgin, has a good idea of this. His Man Enough web series aims to inspire conversations among men. No we’re not talking about what happened on Sunday’s NFL match. We’re talking about real conversations; fatherhood, happiness, marriage, body image and masculinity. Likewise, this November 19th, the International Men’s Day aims to promote a “unified celebration of manhood”. However how does this relate to the stock industry?

Over the years, we’ve witnessed a glaring lack of accurate gender representation in the stock content library. Images of men built like Brad Pitt in Fight Club have saturated our content. But is this what defines masculinity? We certainly don’t think so. In the spirit of this day, here’s our bid to address the identity crisis among men and to celebrate them in all ages, shapes and colors.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Smiling farmer

Image courtesy of Michal Kniti@123RF.

Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway

One of the biggest problems of understanding masculinity lies in the lack of discourse among boys. From the very beginning of their tender years, boys are labeled. Does “boys wear blue and girls wear pink” ring any bells? Masculinity was never meant to be rigid. It has no shape and boundaries. Therefore, who are we to define what is masculine? By excluding the younger generation from this discourse, we unfortunately make things worse. Young boys are not exposed to the world. They are not given options.

Parents understandably hold them close, in a bid to protect them from the big, bad world out there. However, could you be doing more harm than good? The way we see it, boys deserve to be celebrated just as much as any 40 year old male. So this International Men’s Day, make an effort to reach out to your younger generation. Get them involve. Celebrate them. Above all, empower and encourage our boys.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Dad and son dressing cute outfit

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Happy male teenager

Do you even lift bro?

Don’t worry. You don’t have to answer that. Because we believe a man’s shape and size does not determine if he’s man enough. Rewind five years back, and it was a totally different scenario. Beards were hotter than ever. Going to the gym suddenly became a religion. A quick search on “man”, and you’d probably be greeted with something like this. Picture a dude, shirtless and dripping with sweat as he flexes his pecs to look like The Rock. Like seriously, almost every conversation among men centered along these two lines. “Do you even lift bro” or “how much do you bench”.

Now, times have slowly began to change. Perceptions of men and their bodies are no longer as rigid. Losing hair? Embrace it. Got yourself some love handles? Flaunt it. Showing signs of a salt and pepper beard? Rock it. In short, there is no need to discriminate. The International Men’s Day is all about inclusivity. You don’t need to be built like a Greek God to be man enough. And neither does the gender of your partner affect your right to participate in this occasion.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Happy gay couple spending time together

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Bearded bartender ready to serve a pint

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Young amputee athlete

Recoloring men’s representation in stock photography

The past few years has seen a major whitewashing of the media. Even Hollywood was not spared. An insightful research carried out by actor and activist Dylan Marron, highlights this growing concern. This rather disturbing phenomenon has led to many cultures being neglected and plunging into the unknown. Therefore, this International Men’s Day, make it a point to celebrate diversity.

Similar to masculinity, the portrayal of a man and being man enough must be a fluid concept. That’s where the media comes in. This powerful tool has the capacity to influence the public opinion. Therefore, being in the industry ourselves, it’s vital that we aim to find the right talents to provide an accurate cultural representation of the world we live in.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Happy Chinese old man

Image courtesy of Rafael Ben-Ari@123RF.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Cuban man smoking cigar

Image courtesy of Aleksandar Todorovic@123RF.

International Men's Day: Are You Man Enough? 123RF Blog - Local Ethiopian boy

Image courtesy of Luisa Puccini@123RF.

The International Men’s Day celebration is not a competition against the International Women’s Day. The former does not deal with the same problems faced by women on a daily basis. Gender discrimination still exists. The pay gap remains to be significant. However, November 19th aims to address a different set of issues for all men out there.

The identity crisis. Like Movember, the day inspires conversations among men. This includes topics surrounding body image, happiness, fatherhood, marriage and masculinity. Above all, it inspires inclusivity.  No matter your age, shape or color, you are man enough.