Real men eat quiche.
Real men cry.
Real men read Nicholas Sparks.
Real men like to shoot things.
Real men like to watch football.
Real women like to decorate.
Real women wear dresses.
Real women have long hair.
Real women read Calvin's Institutes.
I think we can all admit those are some silly criteria for determining what is a real man or woman. There seems to be varying opinions about what makes a man and woman "real."
I am clearly naive, because I thought there was very little to understand. Yosemite Sam is not a real man; my husband is a real man, made in the image of God. I am a real woman, not a Barbie doll (or a G.I. Joe).
Lore Ferguson touched beautifully on this subject here, reflecting on the fact that we are made in the image of God. Being "real" is being created in His image, not something constructed on celluloid, paper machier, or simply in someone's imagination.
Often, what people really mean is that real men/women DO certain things. And more often than not, it's a case of "real men/women do what we do."
In some paradigms, my sons are not "real" men (young men, that is; they're both under 25) because they don't have an interest in taking a car engine apart, watch football, or go hunting. They're musicians; nerd types. What is very real, however, is that they are always kind to young ladies, go to school while working part-time, pay their the rent, cook their own meals, do their own laundry, and take their turn cleaning their own toilets. Oh dear, maybe I have raised them to be women?
As I thought about this, I was drawn to the words in Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Young men may read Chaucer, go mountain biking, or bake pies in their spare time, but those things don't make real men. When we talk about real men, it begins with being created in His image. If we're talking about whether or not someone is a good man or a godly man, that's a bigger question.
Along with recognizing the reality that they are made in His image, if my sons pursue what is in Micah 6:8, I think they'll be on the right track. They won't look like a mature, godly man of 65 at this point in their lives, but I had them here over Thanksgiving, and after viewing my empty refrigerator after their departure, I'm quite certain they're real.