Four Thoughts I Had When I Saw the “LIONS NOT SHEEP” T-shirt

And the surprising findings when I checked my assumptions.

Gray Miller
4 min readMay 2, 2022


A leader sheep with white wool and a black face stands in a field
Photo by form PxHere

As I walked out of my favorite cigar bar recently, I saw a couple approaching me. The woman was blonde, statuesque, and wearing an elegant black dress. The man was muscular, immaculately coiffed in beard and hair, and wearing a T-shirt that said “LIONS NOT SHEEP.”

I have heard this particular phrase before, and it’s always irritated me. It turns out that it is the catchphrase for a hyper — masculine product company and coaching/lifestyle brand. I won’t link to it here, but as a member of the masculine genre, I had some thoughts about the shirt.

I thought about writing those thoughts as a rant. But I try to be an ethical writer, so I fact-checked my assumptions — and ended up discovering not only surprising contradictions, but a whole new (and in my view, better) archetype for manhood.

Here were my thoughts:

  1. ”Male lions don’t do much.” Like many, I’d listened to the reports and studies that said that the lionesses did the bulk of the hunting. Turns out I was wrong! There’s new data (“new” being 2013), showing that male lions not only do their share of the hunting, they do it by laying in wait in the bush.
    Ok, so maybe the lion as as patronus isn’t as bad as I thought…
  2. ”Lions and sheep aren’t even on the same continent!” Also wrong! According to World Atlas, lions live mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and India. They used to live all throughout Europe and Asia as well, but have “disappeared from 94% of their historic range. Meanwhile, “ Sheep husbandry is practised throughout the majority of the inhabited world, and has been fundamental to many civilizations.” according to Wikipedia.
    In the battle for territory, the sheep are definitely winning.
  3. “What’s so bad about being a sheep anyway?” Lions and sheep have about the same lifespan — basically 8–12 years — though for male lions especially, their dotage is not pleasant: “ When lions start to age and notice a decline in their performance, invading males challenge them. In most cases, the older lions are ousted from their pride and replaced by younger and stronger male lions. These older lions are usually left alone



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Gray Miller

Gray is a former Marine dancer grandpa visualist who writes to help adults figure out what they want to be when they grow up.