Welcome back readers!
What makes an individual empathetic? Everyone possesses varying degrees of feelings for everyday situations they might be involved in or a witness to. The extent to how those reactions are shown to the outside world, however, is where many people differ. Specifically, this contrast is very prominent between a majority of men and women. Society has, for some reason, promoted the idea that women are an uncontrollable roller coaster of emotions and men aren’t supposed to understand due to a vault-like ability to keep every feeling bottled up.
When did this become such a problem for us? Why is there a continual divide in all relationships between men and women, stemming from males not communicating their feelings? There has been “research” which apparently shows biological reasons for a discrepancy in how males and females react to emotion. Really? You are going to go with “strong emotion-particularly for men-can be physically dangerous,” Mr. Therapist? I’m not a licensed practitioner but I’ll say strong emotion will be physically dangerous if you get pissed at a gorilla for throwing something at you and decide to fight it. But talking about something upsetting with someone else? I think we men will survive.
It’s theories like those that lead to the vicious cycle of men finding excuses for our supposed inability in expressing emotion. Men then feel it is okay to be this way, which provides validation to write Pulitzer-winning pieces like this and to the idea that men are just wired as such. The issue is an environmental one and it needs to be fixed before the next generation develops the same asinine behaviors.
I worry about how all of these societal pressures will not only affect my son’s emotional future but also his ability to become a decent human being. The only thing I can do, however, is guide him by my example and hope he accepts my positive influence. But where do I start? Well, he is a 16-month old toddler and becomes pretty emotional when things don’t go his way so I think he has that covered! I joke, but something as simple as explaining his frustrations to him and saying it’s okay to be upset is crucial to emotional development. Little boys need to know it’s okay to cry.
However, development from boys into proper men doesn’t end with learning how to express emotions. There are other lessons I will need to teach my little guy so he can grow into a rebel against the societal norm, such as:
Kill ‘Em All With Kindness: This seems pretty self-explanatory but let me elaborate. Most men are taught to be chivalrous to women. To be completely honest, though, a lot of men do it with an ulterior motive, thinking something stupid like opening a door will magically make a woman weak in the knees. Men, let’s get over ourselves and just open the damn door to be nice. And do it for everyone, not just women.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Let’s face it; a lack of emotional expression causes most men to not even bring up the rear in the “Showing Humility When Needed” category. Unfortunately, this pompous attitude of always feeling we are dominant is detrimental to everything, from the environment to women. It’s mostly men lawmakers who implement rulings against conservation and women’s rights. I’ve never understood why this occurs. Does it really feel that satisfying to have more than half the population hate you at any given time? Men need to take a step back and listen to issues instead of thinking they can just fix a problem without considering anyone else.
Being Mr. Clean® AND Mr. Chef: I’m tired of so many men being called “Mama’s Boys” or hearing a wife complain that having a husband is like raising a child. This has to stop and it starts with us males. We should know how to clean a house and cook a full meal because when living on our own, it’s not attractive to constantly run home to Mommy. And it definitely isn’t endearing when you have a significant other and can’t boil water.
Those are just a few examples of the vast knowledge I will impart upon my son. Some of you reading this might be thinking what gives me the right to speak for men regarding this topic? Well, I’m by no means perfect when handling a lot of these same issues BUT I’m also not a stereotypical man. Most of my adult life has been spent bettering myself so I don’t fall into the typical male niche. And that’s all men need to do; make an attempt. If for nothing else, be better so all of our children grow up in a world where it’s okay for everyone to openly cry without shame.
-Until next time.