Tapati (tapati) wrote,

The Man Box

There is a minority of men who perpetuate a tremendous amount of violence against women. These men are counting on good men to stay true to rules -- the rules that actually allow them to be who they are in the presence of good men. These rules are what we call the ingredients in the "man box." These rules are also the foundation of how we as men collectively define manhood.

The man box teaches us as men that we must be tough, strong, aggressive and dominating. We are taught not to show feelings and emotions. We are taught that we should be in charge, leaders and protectors. And if we fall short we lose our status and are placed outside the box.

Outside the box is reserved for women, and for men defined as being less than fully male, or "woman-like". The man box at times can be hypermasculine and extremely homophobic. With that being said, "outside the man box" is a place most men don't want to be. So we find ourselves staying true to the rules of the man box, many times operating from a subconscious place, just on remote control, doing what's natural to us.

We as good men don't realize that every time we tell a boy that he is acting like a girl, we are actually saying that girls are "less than." We all know that a college freshman woman is known on campus as "fresh meat." And while we know that domestic violence is wrong and a crime, it continues to be tolerated in many of our communities.
--Anthony Porter

This is what I've been trying to say for years. Every time a little boy is told he is a sissy if he cries, that he throws a ball like a girl, and so on, we are telling him that girls are less than boys, inferior. How, then, can he grow up to view women as equals at home or in the workplace? And how many violent men are trying to deal with the hurt, "girly" parts of their psyche by beating it down externally--using women as the surrogate for their wounded feminine side?

How can we create a world where we don't socialize our boys in this manner? Mothers can do some of it but we send our boys out into a school system where other boys pass this on and enforce it on the playground. Media reinforces these ideas with the shows we watch and the slant on most news stories. It seems like an uphill battle.

I'm glad men are talking about this too.

http://www.acalltomen.org/ has resources to help change this negative socialization of men.
Tags: children, culture, domestic violence, gender roles, sexism, violence
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