Be a man. Stop being such a fag. Grow a pair. You're such a girl. Man up.
Every single boy growing up in the United States has heard these phrases at least once over the course of his life. They are all too common. They are also all too damaging. Most think that "toughening" boys is just a rite of passage, but a growing body of research is showing just how harmful these messages can be.
A new documentary brought to us by Miss Representation entitled The Mask You Live In will be exploring the systemic societal problems caused by toxic masculinity. The director Jennifer Siebel Newsom interviewed men and boys across the country and what she found was jaw-dropping. She found that although men are dying to speak, they are taught to stay silent. They spend their life wearing a mask that they are taught to never remove. See what happens when they take it off.
Since most men grow up in toxic environments where they are encouraged to repress their emotions, express power through dominance and prove their masculinity, it's no wonder that these pressures result in serious consequences for them. The film shares troubling statistics. Did you know that boys are 30% more likely to drop out of school? They are also seven times more likely to take their own lives than girls.
As the director of the film says, this movie is more than just a film: it's a movement. To solve gender equality, we need to target both women and men to build a stronger future for a united and strong world.
Please share this video with your friends to spread the word.
For more on toxic masculinity, follow my work on Twitter and Facebook. - Elizabeth Plank