Because I’m a Man
Don’t get me wrong
I’m all about empowering women. Call me a feminist or whatever. But, what happened to empowering our young men? I grew up with messages about how “girls can be anything they want to be” and I was forced to watch “Killing Us Softly” by Jean Kilbourne a million times. You might think, “Hey, it’s a man’s world…still”. And maybe it is? But shit, with all the focus that’s been put on lifting girls up, I think we’ve forgotten to lift boys up with them.
Have people forgotten how tough it is to be a man?
Guy problems? They don’t really exist. We live in a world where men are on top. Everything we want, we get. The best jobs, the hottest women, prestige, is all at our finger tips. Problems? HA!
What a crock…
Young men in gym changing rooms around the world are hiding their man boobs (gynocomastia, ya it has a name. But we never talk about it). Young men in classrooms are struggling with their gender identity because they aren’t good at “traditional” men subjects. Young men around the world are struggling. Period. But, we aren’t given the tools and the encouragement to deal with “Guy Problems”. We’ve got to figure it out ourselves.
Not Long Ago…
I started taking medication for anxiety. I was in fourth year university at the time and I really just couldn’t take the pressure. I was getting sick. Like, physically sick from stress. But, in typical guy fashion. I tried to ride it out. Things got really bad in grad school and I finally went to see the doctor. She asked why I had waited for so long before coming to see her. Turns out, I couldn’t admit I had a problem.
Of course I couldn’t admit I had a problem. I’m a guy. Guy’s don’t have mental health problems. So says all of the articles I’ve read about women’s mental health. So says the advertising about depression that feature women not men.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Because I’m a Man
…I’m forced to deal with body issues in silence because I haven’t been given the words to talk about it
…I Believe girls can do anything but I struggle to find support for things I can’t do
…I’m aware of the tools that can help women avoid sexual assault but I’m not given the tools to stand up to the men that are doing it
…I constantly receive mixed messages on how to deal with my emotions.
…I’m told I need to compete with other men while women are told they need to work together
…I have to conform to what men think a man is and what women think a man is but aren’t given the support to act like what I think a man is.
Because I’m a Man I’m automatically strong but sensitive, smart but humble, hardworking but available to those that need me, tough but tender, complex but simple
Shit, more like none of the above.
So, What’s the Big Idea?
We’ve come so far. Now, more than ever, women are rising above the pack. Check out all the successful women CEOs, doctors, scientists, and the like. That’s totally awesome.
With men, we haven’t come far at all. Yes, men still hold the traditional power they always have but as a gender, we haven’t made any strides. We haven’t risen above traditional gender stereotypes. In 2013, we still can’t talk about our feelings. We still feel we have to be strong and muscular. We can’t stand up for what we believe in.
When will people address those issues with us? When will they help us move forward too?