24 Feb Here’s One for the Boys
by Candice LeSueur
I remember very distinctly when I realized how great it was to be a girl. I was 16 and was learning, as women, we have attributes that make us unique from men: among a wide array of countless traits, we have a great capacity to empathize with others, to nurture, love, and of course, we have the wondrous ability to create life. This epiphany sunk so deeply into my soul that I felt it my calling to empower women and help them recognize the magnitude of their feminine nature.
This is an honorable cause, right? Women of all ages pick themselves apart, because they aren’t able to see who they truly are. But what about the men? Do they also understand the power of their roles in this world? We spend a lot of time trying to build up women, ingraining in their minds that they are just as important as men. But as far as I’m concerned, men don’t have it easy, in fact, they arguably just might have it worse.
Here’s why: Many of today’s boys and men are trying to fit into this mold of being masculine, which is overwhelmingly misunderstood by society as being strong, tough, dominant, womanizing, etc.. Nurturing, being compassionate, sharing how they feel, and especially, crying are unacceptable, because they are seen as feminine attributes. Why can’t these traits be cultivated by both men and women? I’d like to argue that if developing these so-called feminine qualities were socially acceptable for our boys today, they would grow up to be men in the real sense, and so much of the crimes, suicides, homelessness, porn addictions, and broken families in our present world would be diminished exponentially.
This might seem like a pretty bold proposal, but here are several alarming statistics of what boys are facing today that might help put this topic into perspective:
- Compared to girls, boys are more likely to flunk or drop out or school
- Compared to girls, boys are two times more likely to be in special education
- Compared to girls, boys are four times more likely to be expelled
- Everyday three or more boys commit suicide
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for boys
- 93% of boys are exposed to Internet porn
- 21% of young men use pornography every day
These research findings were listed in a documentary created by The Representation Project, a nonprofit organization that is tackling this issue. This touching film, titled The Mask You Live In, follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating [society’s] narrow definition of masculinity.”
What can we do to reverse this harmful trend? Our boys need friends and family, and most importantly, father and mother figures, who love them for who they are, not for wearing the “masculine mask.” Who encourage them to be strong and help them understand it is also okay to share how they feel. Who support them in working hard for their goals, but they should not use dominance over others to get what they want. Who show them how to love and respect women, as well as how they must never, ever treat any lady as an object. As we all work together to instill these values into the hearts and minds of the boys and men in our lives and help them feel valued, we will start to see remarkable outcomes. So much of the world’s ills can be resolved as we address the challenges faced by our boys.