Gender development is one of my primary foci within the field of Child and Adolescent Psychology, and this video from The Representation Project vividly portrays one of the most destructive demands that we place on young boys—”Be a man!”
The Mask You Live In – Be a Man!
There are wonderful pieces of wisdom from Dr. William Pollack (who wrote an outstanding book [Real Boys] that I’ve ready many, many times), Dr. Judy Chu, and Dr. Niobe Way (who wrote another outstanding book about boys’ emotional interactions called Deep Secrets).
Not only does it automatically assume gender inequality, but it does so in the worst of ways. It puts down females by implicitly suggesting that men are better, stronger, more efficient, or what have you. Further, it contains a message that showing the perfectly normal (and necessary!) human emotions of pain, fear, and the umbrella of empathic concern weaken masculinity. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Abraham Lincoln said that “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” That powerful quote is dually applicable in reference to this video. Firstly, it shows that true masculinity is characterised by helping others, and especially those who are unable or less able to help themselves. Secondly, it is a call to action for all of you reading this blog entry: help boys everywhere to grow into a healthy understanding of masculinity. Dispel this myth of masculinity. Teach them to help one another. Teach them to care, even if others laugh at them for doing so. Teach them that fear is equally as important as courage. Teach them that is okay to cry, even in front of others. Then they will truly know what it means to “Be a man.”
|:| Zach |:|