Community Rewards Healthy Masculinity

Thursday evening, December 12, 2013, Chad Borgen hoisted the first Healthy Man Beard Competition Trophy, donated by U.P. Laser Engraving, as the Copper Country Grand Champion.

The event was hosted to help bring awareness to the staggering extent and impact of violence against women, and to focus community attention on the transformative roles that men play in stopping this violence. According to the World Health Organization, one in three women (35.6 percent) experience sexual or physical violence worldwide, much of which occurs from their intimate partner. It is important to remember that most men are not violent; however, if this global epidemic is to ever be reduced or eliminated, it will require men to model and demonstrate healthy masculinity by stepping up, actively engaging issues of violence, and deeming it unacceptable in our society. It is not enough just to be a healthy man; earning this distinction requires courage and strength of character to stand up for others.

The Healthy Man Beard Competition was sponsored by Dial Help and Men Matter, with support from valuable local service organizations and businesses including: Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, Houghton City Police Department, Personal Fitness Trainer Jeff Hauswirth, MTU Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Gogebic Community College, Early Spring Productions (Judges), U.P. Laser Engraving (trophy), The Bluffs Retirement Community (refreshments), McGann’s Building Supply, Surplus Outlet, Michigan Tech Athletics, Stormy Kromer, and AutoZone (prizes).

The winners and their words:

Chad Borgen

Healthy Masculinity by Chad Borgen, Healthy Man Beard Competition Grand Champion

“What is healthy masculinity?” I thought as I sat down to write. Is it men watching football while carrying on conversation? No, but those are things some men like to do as well as some woman. Maybe rock climbing? Maybe it’s doing 100 pushups? No, these are not its definition either. Healthy Masculinity is being the best human being that “he” possibly can be. A man who puts his family first; stands by his word and keeps his word; speaks out and stands up when necessary; who is not afraid to step outside of the so called “man box” in order to help end the demeaning acts towards humanity that are unhealthy to himself and others; supporting equality among all. This is the man I wish to be.

Being a single father, I think it is very important to be a positive male role model in my daughter’s life. I put her needs before my own. Sometimes having to work multiple jobs and sacrifice time with my daughter to make sure those needs are met. I like to volunteer musically where I can and include her whenever possible. I abstain from drugs and alcohol to give my daughter a home that will be warm, loving, and nurturing. I believe it is important being able to cry in front of her and show emotions sometimes not deemed manly. Because I am a single parent, I find myself having to fulfill both roles of parenting, to include household work and talking openly to my daughter about female issues. Such as how we should not be caught up in how our media wants us to weigh, dress, or act and to focus on the simplicity of life. I am devout in my faith and beliefs, teaching her to love and respect all life no matter how big or small. That it is okay to fail in life, honestly admitting the mistakes made and to strive hard not to repeat them. It is imperative she understands the importance of equality. How each of our voices should be heard and not deemed valueless no matter sex, religious views, or race. Being a father for me is like signing a contract that says I will always be there for my daughter as long as I am able. And it is just as important that I take care of myself to ensure my daughter will know how to care for herself. When and if she decides on a partner to share her life with, I hope she will have a better understanding of how a person should behave toward her through my example.

To me, being a father to my daughter is where I find the core of healthy masculinity to be defined. Everything that I have learned from being a father thus far has helped separate myself from the stereotypical “man box.” We, as men, should help tear down the walls of what a man was and what a man should be to leave a lasting and positive impression amongst our youth.

Steve Reineke

The Spirit of Man by Steve Reineke, Healthy Man Beard Competition 1st Runner Up

Throughout our recent history we have ideals of what qualities a real man should have, for instance; a muscular physique, powerful and aggressive. But we have other examples that show a more compassionate side of man. We have symbolic and actual portraits. God has been painted by many artists as a mature – white haired, mustached and bearded being. Santa Claus, Chris Cringle, St. Nicholas have been an icon of our Christmas Holiday. Even Jesus sported a beard and stache. All of these are positive influences to men; because of the significance of their qualities – compassion, understanding, generosity, and love – all things men can be.

If a man believes being a man is having “power” he has already taken a step down the wrong path; power is fleeting. Only by taking on that explorer energy, that all men have for adventure and walking down the path less traveled; toward finding our strengths of heart not of violence.

We will not be feared by women, children and our fellow man. Instead we will be loved and respected.

You may think that this is a farfetched or idealistic that “such is the way of the world.” No! “Such is the way we make this world.”

Ask yourself this question why do men grow facial hair “because we can.” And then ask yourself why we can’t be strong, compassionate, understanding, generous and loving. We can! We also have the capacity to teach and to learn these qualities from each other.

Peace and joy to be for all mankind – The True Spirit of Man.

If you are a survivor of relationship or sexual violence, or find yourself in an abusive relationship and need local, free, confidential help call Dial Help Victim Services at (866) 661-5589 or text (906) 35-NEEDS, or contact the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter at (906) 337-5623.

If you are a man abusing your partner emotionally, psychologically, verbally, or physically and want to take a step towards healthy masculinity, call Dial Help at (906) 482-9077 and ask about the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program.

Dial Help is supported in part by the Copper Country United Way.

Editor’s note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Dial Help. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.