“MAN UP”. These are two words that have been engraved into the psyche of boys and men; passed down from generation to generation. And to put it in layman’s term: a man shall not show weakness nor emotions; and a man is expected to be authoritative and take upon the dominating role–according to a society that progressively stigmatizes attributes of what it means to “be a man”.
According to TIME, “As a society we need to be more supportive of paternity leave, stay-at-home dads, and men entering traditionally “feminine” careers, such as nursing or teaching. Just as we encourage girls to be strong and confident, to enter STEM careers, and to be anything they want to be, we need to similarly encourage our sons to embrace female-dominated HEAL careers (health, education, administrative, literacy).
Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”
– Justin Baldoni
TIME continues, “We need media messages, commercials and TV shows that portray men as responsible, competent and caring husbands, sons and fathers, instead of idiots and/or misogynists. We need feminist leaders to call attention to destructive media messages that negatively portray men, just as they call attention to messages that are destructive to women’s self-image and self-esteem. We must invest in an educational redesign that better serves both boys and girls. Overwhelmingly, researchers point to classroom environments and curriculums that are designed for girls to succeed and boys to fail. During a TED Talk, the speaker, actor Justin Baldoni conducted a session called, “Why I’m done trying to be ‘man enough’.” Baldoni is creating a refreshing and new conversation: Your strength, your bravery, your toughness. Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”
Society will continue to define and associate masculinity with strength; with that being said, it is our responsibility as to what we define strength to be.
*No Image was used in this article on account of there being no distinctive image of ‘a man’*