Masculinity. Aggressiveness, ambition, competitive, athletic, independent, willing to take a stand. Femininity. Sensitive, friendly, cheerful, gentle, compassionate, gullible, shy, soft-spoken. These are culturally built norms surrounding how we think about our gender responsibilities and rules we follow to shape our behaviors. There is a toxic masculinity plaguing our communities. It silences people’s suffering, criticizes male bonding, and encourages masking insecurities by acting out in vulgarity. As a result, men are two to four times as likely as their female counterparts to commit suicide. The consequences of male toxicity include shorter life spans, increased suicide rates, unsuccessful friendships, and many speculate that even school shootings are the result of a threat to one’s masculinity. Warren Farrell is someone who’s very well acquainted with men’s issues. He stresses that men are actually the gender discriminated against, as we raise our boys to be disposable (e.g., at war, in grueling work, and even at homes). That is the cost of male privilege. He proposes that in order for males to be disposable, society had to condition men to believe certain traits about themselves, and required conditioning to disconnect from feelings.
The sad news is, the male-female divide and bifurcation is actually an overreaching ideology that separates us from what’s really present: the feminine-masculine energy that lives in every single one of us. Characteristics like nurturing, caring, sensitive, and feeling are present in all males. And traits like logical thinking, assertiveness, and risk-taking are present in all females. Reducing the polarization of these male/female traits is key to emotional health in both men and women in our societies.
As for us on the individual level, we need to balance both female and male energies in order to live a grounded life. It’s time to move past the black and white, masculine vs feminine traits that are reduced to us at birth – and instead, understand that both sets of traits live within all of us and harness them as needed.
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You need to live YOUR life. No one else can, or ever will. Your life is your gift. Don’t waste it. #SingularPresence