"Be a man" is something we've all heard at one time or another, even a few of the women reading this right now. Being a "man" in that sense means something completely different to me (and maybe you, too) than what that phrase implies.
I can't even begin to describe the toll that the concept of masculinity has taken on my life. And it's felt everywhere. It's time we make changes, starting from within ourselves.
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Man 1: Stop crying.
Man 2: Stop with the tears.
Man 3: Don't cry.
Man 4: Pick yourself up.
Man 5: Stop with the emotion.
Man 6: Don't be a pussy.
Man 7: Don't let nobody disrespect you.
Man 8: Be cool
Man 9:... and be kind of a dick.
Man 10: Always keep your mouth shut.
Man 11: Nobody likes a tattle tale.
Man 12: Bros come before ho's.
Man 13: Don't let your woman run your life.
Man 14: [inaudible 0:14]
Man 15: What a fag.
Man 16: Get laid, do something.
Man 17: Be a man.
Man 18: Be a man.
Man 19: Grow some balls.
Joe Ehrmann: The three most destructive words that every man receives when he was a boy is when he's told to "Be a man".
Dr. Michael Kimmel: We've constructed an idea of masculinity, in the United States, that doesn't give young boys a way to feel secure in their masculinity, so we make them go prove it all the time.
Dr. Judy Chu: Within their peer group culture, each of them is posturing based on how the other boys are posturing. And what they end up missing is what they each really want, which is just that closeness.
Boy 1: In good times guys are, like, really close to each other, but when things get a little bit worse, you're on your own.
Boy 2: From middle school I had four really close friends but once I, kind of, went into high school, I struggled finding people I can talk to because I feel like I'm not supposed to get help.
Ashanti Branch: Our kids get up every morning, they have to prepare their mask for how they're going to walk to school. A lot of our students don't know how to take the mask off.
What is it you don't let people see? Almost 90% of you had pain and anger on the back of that paper.
Boy 3: If you never cry, you have all these feelings stuffed up inside of you and then you can't get them out.
Dr. Niobe Way: They really buy into a culture that doesn't value what we've feminized. If we're in a culture that doesn't value caring, doesn't value relationships, doesn't value empathy, you are going to have boys and girls, men and women go crazy.
Man 20: I had anger issues in high school. I felt like an outcast.
Boy 4: I've been suspended at least once every year I was here.
Man 21: We would just look for trouble and just, like, try to fight.
Dr. William Pollack: Boys are more likely to act out, they're more likely to become aggressive. Most people miss that as depression or see is as a conduct disorder or just a bad kid.
Boy 5: I felt like just giving up on life. You know, I had suicide thoughts in my head in sixth grade.
Boy 6: I felt alone for a long time and I actually thought about killing myself.
Dr. James Gilligan: Whether its homicidal violence or suicidal violence. People resort to such desperate behavior only when they are feeling shamed and humiliated, or feel they would be, if they didn't prove that they were real men.
Dr. Joseph Marshall: If you are told from day one "Don't let nobody disrespect you, and this is the way you handle it as a man", respect is linked to violence.
Boy 7: If I can man up, why step down from that, you feel me?
Boy 8: It's like instinct.
Man 22: So man up.
Man 23: Man up.
Man 24: Man up.
Man 25: Man up.
Man 26: Grow some fucking balls.
Man 27: Act like a man.
Man 28: Be a man.
Man 29: Be a man.
Joe Ehrmann: For my kids, I was going to end this hyper-masculine narrative here.