Are We Putting Men in a Box That Sets Us Up for Failure?

Gender socialization is one of the many topics I get to discuss as part of my work with Women’s Shelter of South Texas.

The attached photo shows responses to the question, “What makes a man a man in our society?” Or, in other words, “What characteristics do we expect men to have?”

While “hero” is listed at the top, the first and immediate response was “strong”. Other key terms that stood out to me were “Marlboro Man”, “aggressive”, and “in control”. These responses are typical with the audiences who participate with this activity, and it paints a clear picture of how men are socialized in the United States.

What happens when we raise our men with the expectation they are to show no emotions, must always be tough, and in control? How does this list of expectations impact relationships, careers, and the overall health of men?

This is part of my upcoming TEDx Corpus Christi talk scheduled for November 8, 2013.

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