Don’t be such a pussy!
We've all got our ideas about masculinity and what it means to be a ‘man’. From the moment males are born they're asked ‘Who’s a big strong boy?’ And as they grow up they're told not to cry, to toughen up, go hard, get the girl and never back down.
'Getting emotional' and 'failing' are only ever referred to as negatives – something we know is not only unhealthy but also untrue.
How can anyone end up happy when they’re told to focus only on 'first place', and to ignore most of their emotions along the way? Why do we tell males that if they don’t have the same emotions and interests as everybody else they’re not ‘normal’ and they’re not ‘one of the boys’? And who made up these rules - which one of the boys decided everybody had to think, say and do the same as him?!
You don’t watch football - What are you gay?!
As a result of being taught, from a young age, to reject any emotions outside of anger or excitement we grow up feeling compelled to ridicule other men that don’t fit our simplistic idea of masculinity.
If you stop to consider some of the standard lines fed to men as 'life advice', they’re not just ridiculous – they can be incredibly damaging: "Boys don’t cry"... "Don’t be a pussy..." "Don't over-think it..." "You’re so whipped..." "Grow some balls..." - What kind of 'life mantras' are these?!
Now you’ve got to fight him…
The problem is when men are told to supress their feelings and behaviours, we end up with a lot of frustrated, confused, unhappy and angry men.
So, the boys harden up, sweep it all under the rug, bottle up their feelings and don’t ask for help because they’ve been told asking for help is ‘weak’. And then what happens?
Australian men have extremely high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, depression and mental illness and violence. In Australia, men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide* than women.
How many more young men will kill themselves because they think there’s no other way out? How many deaths could be prevented if our brothers, fathers and mates felt like they could talk openly and, if need be, tell us they need help? Or if they didn’t need help in the first place because there was no social stigma about what they felt?
It’s time we redefine what it means to ‘be a man’, because nobody should have to define their gender to be accepted or valued. We HAVE to start welcoming and encouraging new versions of masculinity that are… whatever makes us healthy, happy, decent people.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with qualities like strength or determination but we should also be able to feel, think, wear and talk about whatever we want, with whomever we want.
Btw, yes, women are also bombarded with ‘rules’ when it comes to femininity. Check it out this video...
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Causes of Death, Australia, 2015. Catalogue No. 3303.0. Belconnen, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia. Accessed September 28, 2016 from:http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/47E19CA15036B04BCA2577570014668B?opendocument - See more at: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/reporting-suicide/facts-and-stats#sthash.n5Vvt8YG.dpuf
*If you or someone you know is suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts please go to our Get Help page immediately and contact one of the services under ‘Crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health’.