Embrace a Healthy, Respectful Manhood
Embracing a healthy, respectful manhood prevents violence against women, sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying and many other social ills.
Healthy, respectful manhood is also linked to improved physical health and emotional well-being for men. When boys are told not to cry or feel, there are lasting negative effects on their health and relationships. Research by the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who suppress their emotions are one-third more likely to die prematurely than people who regularly express what they are feeling. Issue of rage, anxiety, depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms can manifest. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the suicide rate is four times higher in men than in women.
A CALL TO MEN coined the term the Man Box to illustrate the collective socialization of men. The Man Box identifies the limitations on what a man is supposed to be and what he believes. These expectations are taught to men – sometimes unconsciously – and reinforced by society. In the Man Box, men are supposed to be: powerful and dominating, fearless and in control, strong and emotionless, and successful.
In the Man Box, women are objects, the property of men and of less value than men. The teachings of the Man Box allow violence against women, girls and other marginalized groups to persist. The Man Box perpetuates a heterosexist norm that devalues all those who don’t conform to a gender binary.
Break out of the Man Box and live by the Principles of Healthy, Respectful Manhood
1. Embrace and express a full range of emotion.
a. Allow men and boys to cry.
b. Validate men’s and boys’ feelings.
2. Do not conform to the pressure to always be fearless and in control.
a. Allow men and boys to be and act afraid.
b. Allow men and boys to ask for help.
3. Value a woman’s life, treat all people equally and promote the betterment of humanity.
a. Never use power, control or violence.
b. Never use gender-based attributes to bully or discriminate.
4. Do not use language that denigrates women and girls.
a. Do not make or laugh at sexist jokes
b. Do not perpetuate negative stereotypes with phrases like “You throw like a girl”
5. Develop an interest in the experience of women and girls, outside of sexual conquest.
a. Listen to women and validate their experiences.
b. Embrace female friendships
6. Model a healthy, respectful manhood to other men and boys.