Patriarchy has been oppressing women and limiting their potential since for ages, but what we don’t realise is that it’s also affecting men. It reinforces the idea of toxic masculinity and creates a stereotypical image of what a man should be like.
“Boys don’t cry”, “Be a man” and “Don’t be like a girl” are phrases guys hear from a very early age, and that impacts how they deal with their own emotions.
The manly-man has a beard, is strong, has toned muscles, is aggressive and plays sports. But not all men fit into this mould.
All this is ingrained in men from the time they are born – they are clothed in sportswear, given guns and soldiers to play with, and are expected to be athletic. Boys are shown violent action movies, they are taught to idolise superheroes. Men who care about their fashion, like to cook or express emotion basically invite insults.
If men don’t behave in a masculine way, they are immediately condemned. And that’s toxic, men shouldn’t think they’ve traded off their manhood by embracing their emotions, being kind or being considerate. That should only mean that they are being good men.