What masculinity means to me

Alexei Sorokin
3 min readJan 24, 2022

Having just written a story about once wearing an earring ring, I started asking thinking: I touched upon the topic of masculinity, so what does masculinity mean to me? Some of the traits I mention below aren’t really gender-specific but since I’m male and discussing masculinity, I’m mentioning them.

  • Being empathetic and kind. Let me explain. I’m not talking about something romantic and high-minded. I’m mean something more practical. There are a lot of emotions in this world; emotions often lead to tension and confrontations — in family, in politics, in business, in sports. Being empathetic means being able to talk to an agitated individual or a bunch of individuals, calm them down and arrive at an acceptable solution. That’s leadership. Think of coaches in pro sports. They have to manage a bunch of unruly dudes. I follow the NBA for example, especially the Golden State Warriors. Draymond Green seems to have the wildest of characters. How does Steve Kerr deal with him? I’m sure Kerr is firm but he’s empathetic. He’s a nice guy and that helps him to win over the likes of Green. Think of Steph Curry. One of the best players ever, an “assassin” on the court — yet clearly a very empathetic and selfless individual. Look at how under his leadership the team assimilated Kevin Durant.
  • Being infinitely respectful towards women. I don’t feel comfortable about these self-virtuous statements, but this is very important for me. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life and suffered many storms as a result. But I’ve also experienced a lot of love. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding too spiritual but I think a lot of good things in my life and the grace I’ve experienced have happened because I’ve been respectful to women in my most immediate circle and outside of it.
  • Being an independent individual. Having an opinion. This opinion doesn’t even have to be right. We all make mistakes and it’s ok for our views to evolve with time or depending on circumstances. So I’m not talking about some hard principles. I’m talking about the ability of a person to say — hey, just because everything is saying or doing this, I don’t agree. I respect their opinion but mine is different.
  • Being self-aware and open-minded. For me being smart is about being open-minded — being capable of changing one’s ways and views, if need be. “If need be” can be many different situations — listening to someone, being able to adjust to circumstances, swallowing one’s pride, and admitting mistakes.
  • Being uncomplaining. Self-explanatory. Uncomplaining, self-pity doesn’t help anyone.
  • Trying to stay healthy. Maybe this one is a little controversial. We don’t fully control our health. But I think men should try to lead by example in terms of establishing good habits in the family — healthy eating, and staying active.

I think this is it. Not a long story. I should mention that I don’t know how women view masculinity so am humble in my assessment!

Here’s me with my daughter after her tennis tournament a few months ago!

Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. More here: https://linktr.ee/alexei.sorokin