Old Spice actor explains the pitfalls of male pride

By: Olivia Martin

Pride is a great quality to have. It allows people to believe in themselves and to be proud of their accomplishments, but, when it goes too far, there can be severe consequences. In our society, male pride has become synonymous with masculinity. This is a problem and a root cause for war, domestic abuse and many other acts of violence in the world.

Terry Crews, the actor from the famous, crazy Old Spice commercials, in an interview for Dame Magazine, accurately calls out the problems of male pride: “My message to all men is that you have to kill pride. You’ve been taught that pride is a manly thing, that pride is a good thing. But the problem with pride is that it stops you from growth. When you’re so proud that you won’t change, you’ve got problems. Male pride causes wars; millions of people have died because of male pride, because one man would not back down.”

In Crews’ 2014 book, Manhood, he recounts his difficult childhood and the lessons he has learned throughout the years. Crews was in the NFL for six seasons and then became an actor. You wouldn’t expect someone who has been in a culture of male pride for so long to be so articulate about the problems within it. Maybe Crews’ background is what he learned from to come to his realization? However he came to his conclusion, it is one worth really thinking about.

Boys learn from a young age that to have pride is an important part of being a man. Just like Terry says, boys have been “taught” by society to think this way. It is fine to have pride. In fact, it is a good thing most of the time. But, there has to be a distinction between “having pride” and “not backing down.” Contrary to messages fed to men from a young age, not backing down is not a good thing. Not backing down isn’t always the strong or right thing to do. Sometimes the best and most mature thing to do is to change, to see a new perspective, to open one’s mind to other possibilities and to step outside one’s comfort zone.

Think about all of the wars that could have been avoided, all of the lives spared and all of the friendships kept if men felt like they could abandon their differences and peaceably agree. They fear that if they give up they will be ridiculed with names like pussy and loser, and be thought of as weak, powerless and inferior. We need to stop teaching boys that in order to be men, they can never back down. That type of mentality is too destructive, not only for the boys it impresses on, but also for the consequences it creates for the rest of us.

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