November 3, 2023
The discourse reminds us that concepts of masculinity are as complex and varied as the individuals who embody it and those who judge it.
Recently in a controversial TikTok video posted Oct. 28, inside of a living room, two Black men engage in a candid conversation about finances, family and what it means to be a real man in today’s world. Their divergent approaches to handling finances and household responsibilities paint a portrait of masculinity as diverse as the community they call home.
The conversation introduces viewers to the “50/50 man,” an hourly wage worker who has had his share of financial challenges. With vigor, he opens up on how he feels his masculinity is being questioned:
“Oh I’m ‘not a man’ if I’m going 50/50 with my woman, it’s hard brother. You sit up here in your nice house, nice jewelry, nice cars, ‘aww yeah man you gotta do 100%..’ How? How brother!? If I’m making $14 an hour what do you expect!? You know, you still on that 100% ‘you not a man, you not a man.’ How? I’m still working, I’m still providing right? So what makes me not be a man, ‘cause I’m going 50/50 with my woman?”
On the other side sits a more “traditional man,” a prosperous entrepreneur who has worked hard to accumulate wealth over the years. He passionately discusses the reason he defines masculinity by being head of his household:
“Brother I applaud you, but I understand it is hard out here. But we are men, so we have to go harder, I’m not saying or trying to speak down to you my brother, by any means necessary Im not, but I want you to be reminded of something our fathers didn’t teach us, that we must go hard, and that we shouldn’t get into a relationship with a woman until we have direction.”
Their different approaches to family life highlight the multifaceted nature of modern masculinity.
The entrepreneur represents the primary breadwinner, while the former stands on a partnership and support in the face of economic challenges.
The conversation between these two Black men encapsulates the diversity of what it means to be a man in today’s world—but also sparked a “heated debate” among social media users:
“50/50 men always have an attitude,” one TikTok user responded.
“He is so defensive he can’t understand the message.” another commented.
On Instagram, rapper The Game offered his two cents on the subject, stating, “If you can’t afford to take care of your household 100%…. As a man just stay single or alone until you can.”
Game continued: “A woman has duties in the home that are not easy at all, that I consider equal to the work that is required to financially secure that home.”
The conversation garnered upward of 19,000 comments on IG and over 1.7 million views on TikTok. The discourse reminds us that concepts of masculinity are as complex and varied as the individuals who embody it and those who judge it.
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