So many rules for men…you have to be strong, you have to provide, you have to work yourself to death, obviously you can’t cry, you can’t have feelings because then you are weak, and so on and so forth. These rules of “how to be a man” don’t only pertain to men. We, women, play a major role in perpetuating these expectations. We raise our children to fulfill this role, and demand the same of our men. Even in lesbian relationships some of these dynamics arise.
I say it’s time to free ourselves from this burden. In my therapy office, I often bring up the topic of masculinity with my male-identified clients. The copious amounts of stress, pressure, and unrealistic expectations often lead to high levels of subjective distress and overall unhappiness with life.
Worse, we also tell our men to cope in the most unhealthy ways possible: drink, smoke, bottle things up, stay quiet and “man up.” Even in the context of love songs, a man is only heard expressing his sorrows if he is drinking. I say, it’s time for change. I help my clients deconstruct beliefs, stereotypes, and break out of the gender mold that has only brought them stress, worry, addiction, and unhappiness.
To all my Latina women out there: It’s not only about getting out of a machista relationship, but also about not raising our children within machismo norms.
As part of this conversation, I have used and referenced these resources. Check them out!
- For the Love of Men. Book by Liz Plank
- The Man Enough Podcast by Justin Baldoni
- Man Enough: Un defining My Masculinity. Book by Justin Baldoni
- Mindful Masculinity Workbook: A Practical Guide for Healthier Masculinity
- Documentary The Mask You Live In. Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom