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Patriarchal masculinity benefits no one

An ex used to comment on the way I raised my son.

"He needs to learn to man up" he said.

"Man up?' I said, "what does that mean?"

"He is weak" he said

"Too soft" he said

"Too emotional" he said

"Too girly" he said

"Too clingy" he said

"Too needy" he said

"Oh" I said

"Does it scare you?" I said

"What?" He said.

"You seem uncomfortable" I said

"What?" He said.

"You seem uncomfortable" I said

"To be in the daily presence of a boy who has the strength to be vulnerable,

the resilience to feel deeply,

and the courage to cry" I said

"You're crazy" he said.

Patriarchal masculinity benefits no one.

Including men.

Suppressing emotions benefits no one.

Masking distress benefits no one.

Feeling unable to ask for help benefits no one.

The constant feeling of competition benefits no one.

The desire to always be bigger or stronger or turn to performance enhancing drugs benefits no one.

Maintaining an appearance of toughness benefits no one.

Feelings of having to "be the provider" benefits no one.

Avoiding self reflection and self exploration benefits no one.

Preventing radical self love benefits no one.

Equality will not and can not be achieved until we stop using language that suggests weakness or strength is based solely on anatomy.

We have to empower boys and men,

and boys and men have to give each other the safety and the freedom to experience a full range of emotions and to assist each other to see the world from an outlook independent of their gender.

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