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A short comic strip explains how our double standard about feelings hurts men, too.

Let's talk about men's feelings — more specifically, how they're not allowed to feel them.

Let's talk about "manfeels." Also known as "bromotions."

Like when your fantasy team falls into last place, except different.

Isn't it weird how we always have to add masculine prefixes to things that aren't traditionally considered to be "masculine"? Sure, you could say it's meant to be funny or ironic. But is it always? And even then ... why do we have to go out of our way to create new words for completely normal things that guys do or feel, and that they've done and felt for centuries?


This great comic from Everyday Feminism explores the ways in which we oppress men's emotions.

The comic is called "The Media Is Lying to You About Men's Emotions, And It's Really F*cked Up – Here's a Healthier View," and it's by an artist who goes by Robot Hugs, which is kind of like dude-hugs but with less muscle-y pats on the back and more cold, unfeeling machinery.

Ironically, the cold, unfeeling nature of robot hugs is the exact problem with men's emotions that this comic talks about.

Hey, whoa, wait, before we continue ... men's emotions? On a site called Everyday Feminism? Actually, yeah.

There are some corners of the Internet that unfortunately conflate the idea of feminism with the oppression of men, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The grievances of those who champion for "men's rights" — issues like custody, paternity leave, and the high frequency of men engaged in dangerous jobs, such as military or construction — are actually symptoms of the larger systems that feminism aims to dismantle.

Just a heads up: I'm gonna be talking in really simplistic terms about the ridiculous way we usually talk about “dude" things and “lady" things. There is obviously more complexity within and beyond this, including lots of other layers about gender and sex and sexual orientation in general, but that's for next week's class.

The comic is about allowing people of all genders to access the full range of emotions involved in the human experience.

Think about it this way: all those problems I mentioned above? They're directly related to the idea of traditional roles, where men fulfill the hard "masculine" duties like hunting, protection, and physical labor, while women do the soft "feminine" work of nurture and caretaking.

This is what people mean when they talk about "patriarchy." When societal pressures force men and women into binary opposition, it creates a system of unfair double standards where an act of self-expression is interpreted differently depending on which gender role society assigns to us.

Or, to put it simply, if you're a man and you express anger, you're treated differently than if you're a woman who expresses anger, because of the way we perceive different emotions based on gender role stereotypes.

The comic lays this problem out with some really clear examples.

That's dudes on the left and the ladies on the right, with the shared emotional experience in the middle.

When society tries to limit and define what it means to "be a man," it implies that everything opposite — aka feminine — is wrong or bad.

This is where things start to get messy, and someone inevitably says, "But women's bodies are usually more frail!" or "But women are more emotional" which leads to "But I'm a chivalrous man and must assert my noble alpha-maleness by protecting and providing for a delicate woman!"

And hey, maybe you're not wrong about that. But you are wrong in thinking that those qualities typically perceived as "feminine" are themselves innately wrong, or somehow lesser than the stereotypically "masculine" qualities. You might not realize it, but that line of thinking has a serious effect on the language centers of your brain and the way that you perceive the world around you.

Traditional gender roles seek to confine both men and women alike, and the more we adhere to them, the more we hurt everyone.

The simple truth is that men and women and all humans alike are complex, complicated creatures, full of contradictions and inner feelings. But when men give into societal pressures to suppress their emotions (for fear of seeming too pejoratively "feminine"), those simmering feelings trapped below the surface tend to swell into something worse, which can lead to greater mental and physical damage both to themselves and to those around them.

There are some men's rights proponents who like to point to the higher rates of suicide and addiction among men, as well as the high percentage of men employed in risky and potential traumatic fields, such as military and police work.

They're right to do so (as much as it pains me to admit). But that's not the fault of feminism — it's because of toxic masculinity.

According to the World Health Organization, women are actually at greater risk for being diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. But they're also way more likely than men to seek out that diagnosis in the first place — which may have something to do with those societal pressures that tell men that these emotions are feminine and, therefore, weak and should be repressed or ignored. This can lead to substance abuse problems like alcohol dependence (1 in 5 men, as opposed to 1 in 12 women) and/or suicide (nearly twice as likely in men as women). It can also lead to violence — in the home, on the streets, or in schools or movie theaters across the country.

That's not to say that men cannot be victims of violence, of course. But this same toxic masculinity that encourages men to bottle up their emotions and hide their weaknesses also tells them to feel shame when they've been raped or physically abused — both of which do happen, and both of which are tragically underreported because they are so emasculating.

So instead of telling people to "man up," let's encourage people to confidently express their masculinity in whichever way they choose.

Here's a simple test for determining whether something is masculine: If the person identifies as a man, then whatever way they choose to express that is manly. 'Nuff said.

Check out the full comic over at EverydayFeminism.com.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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