The Mask You Live In: What Does It Mean to 'Be a Man'?
Posted by Anthonism
Stop crying. Stop with the tears. Don’t cry. Pick yourself up. Stop with the emotions. Don’t be a pussy. Don’t let nobody disrespect you. Be cool and be kind of a dick. Always keep your mouth shut. Nobody likes a tattletale. Bros come before hoes. Don’t let your woman run your life. You bitch. What a fag. Get laid. Do somethin’. Be a man. Be a man. Grow some balls.
Explores how our culture's narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.
“The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy is when he’s told to be a man.” Joe Ehrmann, coach and former NFL player “We’ve constructed an idea of masculinity in the United States that doesn’t give young boys a way to feel secure in their masculinity so we make them go prove it all the time.” Dr. Michael Kimmel, Sociologist & Educator “Within in their peer group culture, each of them is posturing based on how the other boys are posturing and what they end up missing is what they each really want, which is just that closeness.” Dr. Judy Chu, Sociologist & Educator “In good times, guys are like really close to each other, but when things get a little bit worse, you’re on your own.” Boy 1 “From middle school I had four really close friends. Once I kind of went into high school, I struggled finding people I could talk to because I feel like I’m not supposed to get help.” Boy 2 “Our kids get up every morning, they have to prepare their mask for how they’re going to walk to school. A lot of our students don’t know how to take the mask off. What is it you don’t let people see? Almost 90% of you had pain and anger on the back of that paper.” Ashanti Branch, Educator & Youth Advocate “If you never cry then you have all these feelings stuffed up inside of you and then you can’t get them out.” Boy 3 “They really buy into a culture that doesn’t value what we’ve feminized. If we’re in a culture that doesn’t value caring, doesn’t value relationships, doesn’t value empathy, you are going to have boys and girls, men and women go crazy.” Dr. Niobe Way, Psychologist & Educator
Joe Ehrmann has been an educator, author, activist, pastor and coach for more than 25 years. He was a college All-American athlete who played professional football for 13 years. Among numerous awards, Joe has been named "The Most Important Coach in America" for his work to transform the culture of sports.
“I had anger issues in high school. I felt like an outcast.” Boy 4 “I’ve been suspended at least once every year I was here.” Boy 5 “We would just look for trouble and just like try to fight.” Boy 6 “Boys are more likely to act out. They’re more likely to become aggressive. Most people miss that as depression, or see it as a conduct disorder, or just a bad kid.” Dr. William Pollack, Psychologist & Educator “I felt like just giving up on life. I had suicidal thoughts in my head at 6th grade.” Boy 7 “I felt alone for a long time, and I actually thought about killing myself.” Boy 8 “Whether it’s homicidal violence or suicidal violence, people resort to such desperate behavior only when they are feeling shamed and humiliated or feel they would be if they didn’t prove that they were real men.” Dr. James Gilligan, Psychiatrist & Educator “If you’re told from day one, don’t let nobody disrespect you and this is the way you handle it as a man…respect is linked to violence.” Dr. Joseph Marshall, Educator & Youth Advocate “If I can man up, why step down from that, you feel me?” Boy 9 “It’s like instinct.” Boy 10 So, man up! Man up! Man up! Man up! Man up! Grow some fucking balls! Act like a man! Be a man. Be a man! For my kids, I was gonna end this hyper masculine narrative here.