Updated: Apr 5
The basic and the only necessary condition to be a man is to reach adulthood and be a male. You don’t have to pass a test or to adopt traits and behaviors that are associated with men - as these are the necessities of becoming more masculine - being a man is fundamentally a matter of age and sex, as the basic and necessary definition of a man boils down literarily to a male that is an adult, AKA, a male that is no longer a kid, teen or boy.
What is a “real man”? Does an adult male, AKA a man, has to fit into a specific category of personality and behavior, in order for him to be a “real man”, even though he is real nonetheless, considering we’re talking about a man that exists and is not a figment of one’s imagination?
There is where a common fallacy is taken - when you are convinced that there are men who are “real men” just because they are masculine in some way, compared to feminine men, who, according to this logic, are not “real” men, AKA adult males.
There are cultural norms and traditions, made to symbol the transition from boyhood to adulthood, but these are merely ceremonies, meant to symbolize and recognize the transition, not necessarily lead or create to said transition, as the only fundamental transition from boyhood to manhood is a male’s age. That male's behavior as either masculine, feminine or just childish, does not alter the fact that he is a male adult, AKA a man.
There are also socially-inherited and personal tests of manhood, but these are tests of masculinity, not of being a man. Being more or less masculine doesn’t make you more or less of a man - you are a real man as any other adult male.
It's also important to mention that masculinity itself isn’t a measurement of how real you are as a man; it is a measurement of how much you fit into the stereotypical and cultural beliefs of what an adult male should live and behave in the eyes of at least one social construct, be it your family, your friends, your romantic partner and so forth. The exception to the social construct is yourself.
There is this saying in slang: “behave like a human!”. However, just as there is no one way “behave like a human”, there is no one way to be a man, in terms of existing as one. The ways of how a "real" human or man acts is purely a product of perspectives, forged by years of tradition and culture. You could claim, for example, that humans eat only with a fork, a spoon and a knife. However, there were and probably are people who eat with their hands or with some other tools, like with chopsticks. Eating with your hands doesn’t make you any less of a human being than any other human - this is an analogy to being a man.
We can conclude, therefore, that there shouldn't be a pressure or worry for young adult males, or males in general, about not being much of "real men", since manhood is determined by sex and by age and not necessarily by anything else. Likewise, there is no such emotion as "feeling manly" or "feeling like a woman"; such "emotions" can be simply considered as pride that is a construct of gender, combined with their self-image relative to said gender.