By, Dennis Muentes
Unfortunately, these are the words that many Latino youths are plagued with by their fathers as a correct form of behavior. Showing any emotion or crying is strictly forbidden, and it is interpreted as a sign of one’s character being weak, cowardly, delicate, and being anything but a man. Macho culture, which can be described as hyper masculinity, dominance, and violence, can be deadly, especially for women. As a result, it is important not only for all men in society, but also for boys growing up and the generation of Latino men to come to rethink machismo to promote respect for all women and end gender-based violence. Among Latinos, machismo is more than an attitude; it is a code of conduct that has been passed down from father to son for many generations. Machismo was once thought to be protective of the family structure by a father, a male figure who has to have all of the power, but in reality, it is a toxic aspect that in the end causes harm and hurts the ones we love.
But how do you change a system that has been deeply engrained in society for decades and decades now?
How do you change a system that is not only found in one culture, but is found in multiple cultures across the world? Continue reading…
By Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Two years from now, we can elect a different Congress. Four years from now, we can elect a new president. But can we win back the minds of young people who came of age in this moment?
A nation of children is growing up today under a toxic leader. They’re developing and learning how to be adults. They’re curious about how to find their way in this world. And they’re looking for examples of what it means to “be a man.” We’re giving them Trump. In response to Trump’s jaw-droppingly inappropriate speech this week to the Boy Scouts, their Chief Scout Executiveattempted to right the course of Trump’s terrible role-modeling by apologizing to anyone offended by the “political rhetoric” within the speech. But when building up young people of integrity and character is at stake, apologizing for politics is not nearly enough.
It wasn’t always so bleak. As a working mom in the business of culture change, I was hopeful that we were on the road to progress not that long ago. I thought this new generation of boys would grow up seeing girls as their equals, and I thought this new generation of girls would come of age expecting and demanding respect and seats at the tables of power — that we’d all believe strength comes in many forms, that might isn’t always right and that all people are worthy. I was hopeful that 30 years from now those same young people would be grown adults, that women in leadership would be normalized and that men taking paternity leave would make you an average father, not a hero.
Instead, a nation of children has a bully-in-chief who is such an extreme caricature of toxic masculinity that he focuses on his victories, his blustering power and his wealth even when talking to a crowd of Boy Scouts. Or perhaps particularly when talking to young men. After all, if President Donald Trump is holding himself up as a role model, only privileged white men can follow in his footsteps.
To be sure, many Boy Scouts do not fall into this group. And regardless of demographics, many reject the President’s message of hate and selfishness. So many Scouts (and their parents) were outraged by Trump’s utterly inappropriate remarks the other day, and as a result, feel betrayed and alienated by an organization that they have come to love.
But I’m particularly concerned for the boys who don’t have our same reaction. The boys who say nothing about Trump’s tasteless remarks or who buy into his discriminatory rhetoric. The boys who see his bullying as an invitation to shrug off decency and community in order to get what they think is rightfully theirs. It’s this same vein of entitled thinking that could lead you to believe one female Dr. Who out of 13 is too many, or that increased protections against campus sexual assault are actually a witch hunt against men.
Sure, it’s normal as a teenager to think mostly about yourself. But that is why these boys need a role model to ask them to think beyond themselves. These boys need a role model to tell them it’s not all just about them, that they’re required to think about the greater good, that perhaps they must sacrifice their own ease to make way for someone who has had it harder. They need a role model to point out all the ways they have been lucky, and that it’s their duty given their privilege to work hard to make the world a fairer, more equitable place. They need a role model to tell them that being a good man means being kind and compassionate, empathic and caring, giving and loving.
Instead, they have a man who tells them success is determined by the size of your yacht and the length of your vacation in the South of France, deriding “some of these guys that never made 10 cents.” Instead, they have a man who uses a public stage to threaten his colleagues that they better do his bidding or he’ll say “you’re fired.” Instead, they have Trump.
Every boy has so much promise. They can become the leaders of tomorrow that we so desperately need. But we have to dig in and help them now.
We all must call on the Boy Scouts to do a better job of guiding our boys into adulthood. The apology issued today is a good start, but it’s not enough. They cannot just apologize for the speech’s partisan content, when the entire message was a disavowal of their motto, which requires Scouts to “help other people at all times.”
Let’s be the healthy role models our kids desperately need. Hug your boys tonight and tell them how much you love their kindness and their compassion. Ask them what they did today to help out someone else — and thank them for it. We must inspire more in our young men and demand more of ourselves, our leaders and our cultural institutions. Our — and their — future depends on it.
By Ben Atherton-Zeman
The Senate just voted to advance legislation that puts women’s lives at risk. The President was recently embroiled in a fight with MSNBC talk show host Mika Brzezinski that led to him tweeting that she had a “low IQ” and was “bleeding badly from a face lift,” words that fall in line with his other attacks on women, people of color and immigrants. Last month, Philando Castile’s killer was acquitted—just the latest in a long pattern of police acquittals after killing Black people. Within days of that decision, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was murdered on the way back from Ramadan prayers, and afterward one of the memorials erected in her honor was set on fire.
Can’t I just go back to bed?
Actually, yes. I can. As a white, cisgender male, I am able to tune out the injustices happening to women, people of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. I can do this because it doesn’t affect me as directly as it does others. To “go back to bed” is usually not an option for people who don’t look like me.
I know many of you—many of US—don’t want to hear this, but that’s called white privilege. That’s called male privilege.
And because white males benefit from and perpetuate systems of sexism and racism—even when we do our best to challenge systems of societal power—it is our responsibility to speak out, now more than ever. Fellow white guys: let’s stay engaged. Sustainably. Accountably. I want to join the chorus of voices urging white males to speak out against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of hate and discrimination.
Specifically, I’d like to ask my fellow white guys to stick to these 10 do’s and don’ts in the era of Trump—and beyond. (I use the phrase “white males” and “white men” in this piece as a shorthand, realizing that gender is a spectrum. Perhaps “male-identified” would be more accurate.) Continue reading…
By Ellen Claire Williams
Creating a blog has been a dream of mine for quite some time. But it was never the “right” time or I was “too busy.” The truth is… I wasn’t ready. I was afraid. I was ashamed. I didn’t want people, more people, to know the weight I had been carrying… the weight I still carry.
My first blog post is dedicated to my own story. A story that takes place over the past 3 years. This is my journey where at times, I only saw darkness and felt heartbreaking loneliness. This is my journey where the only thing I feel now is unimaginable freedom. Everyone has a story; I am finally ready to tell mine. Please bear with me. It’s lengthy but I believe it’s important.
It’s the very beginning of my sophomore year at The Ohio State University. Classes haven’t even started yet. I am introduced to a boy through a mutual friend. We quickly hit things off and begin spending more and more time with one another. He is so charming, kind, outgoing, and funny, like really funny! All of the things a girl my age could want. He has a big group of friends. He makes me feel special, the kind of special I have always wanted.
Fast forward a few months into the relationship:
He’s lying about various things, not big things, but still, things. Playful insults are next to come. But it’s no big deal, I mean we all know how college boys can be, right? He doesn’t really mean it like that. Who do I think I am not to laugh at his moderately hurtful “jokes?” He is nice to me, he buys me flowers whenever he messes up. He still makes me laugh A LOT. Seriously, he loves me and I love him. Relationships aren’t supposed to be perfect.
A few more months:
Well, he cheated on me again. But he cried about it and apologized. He seems really sorry. I truly believe him when he tells me it won’t happen again. Realistically, he is a college boy and we are so young; I can’t expect him to be perfect all the time. And did I mention that he’s sorry? He practically begged on his hands and knees for me to stay.
Things are better for a few weeks and he takes me out to dinner. But now his once “playful” insults are not in the slightest bit playful; and sometimes I cry when he speaks these words to me. But at least he’s only shoved me once this week… he was drunk after all and I should’ve known better than to start a fight when he’s like that. But the next day he slaps me. This time, across the face, hard. My cheek is red and soaked with tears, but he said he is sorry and is back down begging on his knees. I love him so much it hurts, but is love supposed to hurt? Continue reading…
Last semester, a student in the masculinity course I teach showed a video clip she had found online of a toddler getting what appeared to be his first vaccinations. Off camera, we hear his father’s voice. “I’ll hold your hand, O.K.?” Then, as his son becomes increasingly agitated: “Don’t cry!… Aw, big boy! High five, high five! Say you’re a man: ‘I’m a man!’ ” The video ends with the whimpering toddler screwing up his face in anger and pounding his chest. “I’m a man!” he barks through tears and gritted teeth.
The home video was right on point, illustrating the takeaway for the course: how boys are taught, sometimes with the best of intentions, to mutate their emotional suffering into anger. More immediately, it captured, in profound concision, the earliest stirrings of a male identity at war with itself.
This is no small thing. As students discover in this course, an Honors College seminar called “Real Men Smile: The Changing Face of Masculinity,” what boys seem to need is the very thing they fear. Yet when they are immunized against this deeper emotional honesty, the results have far-reaching, often devastating consequences.
Despite the emergence of the metrosexual and an increase in stay-at-home dads, tough-guy stereotypes die hard. As men continue to fall behind women in college, while outpacing them four to one in the suicide rate, some colleges are waking up to the fact that men may need to be taught to think beyond their own stereotypes.