“What would healthy Masculinity look like in your eyes”? This question was posed by CARE in their presentation of “Healthy Masculinity,” which lead to the discussion that took place. In order to answer this question,we must first answer the question: “What is Masculinity?” According to the Google definition, masculinity is defined as possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men. These qualities include: “handsome, muscled, and driven”. Other qualities that were added to this list in the discussion were power, aggression, control, and violence.
Clips of a video was shown during the event and gave several examples of what “masculinity” looks like, especially in media. Specific examples included clips from Shark Tale and How to Train Your Dragon. In these two movies, the son is pressured towards violent behavior and if they act differently, their father might even disown them.
Violence is not a characteristic that men are just born with, it is a taught behavior by peers and family that correlates with the view that society has about masculinity. As a result of societal pressure of violence men statistically commit 90% of murder crimes. This could possibly be due to the increasing pressure for men to put up a front in order to shield their vulnerabilities, as stated in the video. If men show any hint of vulnerability such as crying, they are immediately degraded for it getting beaten or called names like “pussy, bitch, fag, gay, retard, etc…” by other men so that they feel inferior.
A way to put an end to the stigma of masculinity and promote healthy masculinity is to make sure that young boys know that there is nothing wrong with expressing themselves. They should be taught that being emotional and showing characteristics of compassion and love is completely okay. In the society today, basic human emotions have been driven out of boys and young men in an attempt to make them “tough” and masculine. But it should be understood that men and women have the same emotions–like anger, sadness, and fear– and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a man expressing the same emotions that a woman could feel. In the expression of any type of emotion, a man is not any less “masculine” that another man, he is simply being human.
Featured picture credit: Everyday Feminism
Article picture credit: Pacific Standard