The 3 Most Destructive Words a Boy Can Hear: “Be a Man!”

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THE 3 SCARIEST WORDS A BOY CAN HEAR: “BE A MAN!”

Joe Ehrman is a sports insider. 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.

 

“If we could change these words, we could change the world”.

 

The Problem:

Boys are taught, from a very young age, they must separate their hearts from their heads to be men. They’re taught that to have and show emotions is a failure of masculinity. Is that not the repression of the very thing that makes us human?

Wisdom:

As a pastor over the past 30 years, Joe often accompanies individuals on their death bed. He has consistently observed that men judge the success of their lives on 2 criteria only:

1- Relationships: To love and be loved: How is your relationship with your partner, parents, and children? Are you loving and allowing yourself to be loved to the best of your capability? As men, who are incentivized from a young age to compete and dominate, most of us aren’t raised to be relationally successful.

2- Cause: Make a world a better place: Every one of us has a responsibility to give back. How are you making the world a better place? What causes are you committed to?

Watch Joe Ehrman talk about his experiences with toxic masculinity and offer us his wisdom into what healthy masculinity is build around.

What can I expect from this video?

Joe looks at the impact of toxic masculinity through the lens of sports.

Why sports?

Sports will engage more individuals, families, and communities than any other shared activity or organizations globally. Sports have become almost religion-like. They offer their followers values for success, codes of conduct and heroes.

Sports have always been a metaphor for social change. Until recently that we have moved into the “win at all cost” mentality, sports have been the vehicle for social progress. Think the about the impact of Jackie Robinson, Mohammad Ali and Billie Jean King in bringing important topics into political and mainstream consciousness.

Q: DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE TOLD YOU TO “BE A MAN”?
WRITE TO US BELOW.
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Locker Room Talk. Says Who?

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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS NOT A WOMAN’S ISSUE. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS A HUMAN ISSUE AND IT REQUIRES ALL OF US PARTICIPATING. 

Having spent the past three years working intimately with male athletes, Alexis Jones is redefining “manhood” one locker room at a time. After growing up a Texas tomboy with four older brothers and working in “the lion’s den of dudes” at Fox Sports and ESPN, Alexis takes an inspiring, hysterical and at times inappropriate approach to empowering young men to better respect and protect the girls and women in their lives with her exclusive locker room curriculum, ProtectHer. (Viewer discretion advised.)

 

The Problem:

How young men are being programmed to think about, to talk about, and to treat women.

Wisdom:

1- Be brave enough to author your own life, come up with your own definitions and think for yourself.

2- Violence against women is not a women’s issue. Violence against women is a human issue and it requires all of us participating. Aexis invites us to:

  • Become aware of our programming
  • Broaden our definition of manhood
  • Respect ourselves and others

3- Finally, she encourages us to have real talk with men we are inviting to join us. We have to give them real language and tools they can use in the moments we are asking them to be brave.

“Yo, I just want to make sure you’re cool with us having sex?”

Is a perfectly fine way of asking for consent.

Watch Alexis share her wisdom on how she has been recruiting men to be part of the solution, one locker room at a time.

 

Q: HOW SHOULD WE BEHAVE AS MEN WHEN WE BECOME PART OF THESE CONVERSATIONS?
WRITE TO US BELOW.
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What Obama And 50 Cent Can Teach You About Power

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EFFECTS OF RACE IN GENDER ROLES AND MASCULINITY

Every conversation about equality must take intersectionality into consideration. This short documentary is an example of how race contributes to inequality.

Problem:

“In the black community masculinity is associated with how many women you have, how many kids you have, how many times you have been in and out of prison and how much drugs you have sold.”

Wisdom:

We have to become aware of this narrative and evolve our understating and judgment beyond this simplistic perspective.

Watch this short documentary film examining the contrasting styles of manhood exhibited by Barack Obama and Rapper/Mogul Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent

Insights:

“Barrack Obama and 50 Cent represent two sides of masculinity in the black community.”

Barrack Obama: The Intellectual

50 Cent: The Gangster

 

Gangster Rap Made Me Do It

“In 2000’s, gangster rap defined a new generation of manhood in the black community. It made black middle class men lose their place in manhood; Not in the real sense, but in the sense of media image. 50 Cent is the poster boy for this mold: violent criminal who controls people with fear.”

“Power is often associated with aggressiveness: What you can take, what you can control. That’s what masculinity in America strives for: Dominance.”

“Gangster rappers became the blueprint for young boys in US and around the world who may not have strong male role models in their lives. Very soon the narrative for success became that black on black murder and controlling women’s bodies gets you paid.”

“For those from other races, particularly white men, who may not have many strong relationships with black men, they also bought into this narrative.”

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“This explains why Barrack Obama being an intelligent black man was considered such a contradiction.”

“Barrack is exploding this narrative. His intellect is one of the foremost things you notice about him. He is the antithesis of the angry, out-of-control negro.”

“Obama made it cool to stand for tolerance, understanding and equality.”

Shoutout to Michelle 

“As important as Barrack was culturally, Michelle may have played a more important role. For black women there was an affirmation that their strength could still find them a great guy.”

Underdog vitality: They’re not supposed to be here

“Yes, Barrack and 50 represent different parts of manhood in black communities in America, but they also share commonalities. They’re both playing and winning at games that was not designed for them to win.”

“50 Cent is someone who was born into a family connected to drug business, grew up fatherless, lost his mother at a young age and became involved in drug dealing himself. He has managed to maneuver through the system to build one of the most recognized brands in the world.”

“I know black men for real, not just through movies or music videos. I know these men to cry, to love their families, to want to be successful, to be afraid, to be weak, to be vulnerable and to have every human emotion possible.”

Q: HOW CAN WE EVOLVE OUR PERSPECTIVE BEYOND THIS NARRATIVE? WHY WOULD THAT BE IMPORTANT?
WRITE TO US BELOW.
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Think Sexual Abuse Is A Women’s Issue?

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IT’S NOT “THEIR” ISSUES; IT’S OURS

A paradigm-shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence issues: sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of children.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King

 

Problem

Gender Violence issues are viewed as women’s issues that some good men help out with. (Allies)

Wisdom

Take ownership of the problem and view them as Men’s issues (also).

In this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that gender-violence issues are intrinsically men’s — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Insights:
Calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem
  • It gives (some) men an excuse to not pay attention
  • Power and privilege often goes unexamined because it’s regarded as the “norm”
An exercise to examine our language in shifting away attention away from men
(From the work of feminist linguist: Julia Penelope)

John beat Mary
Mary was beaten by John
Mary was beaten
Marry was battered
Marry is a battered woman

This is an example of victim-blaming

Ask the right questions

Don’t ask why are women facing these problems?
Ask why are so many men abuse physically, emotionally, verbally and other ways, the women, girls, men, and boys they claim to love? What’s going on with men?

Looking at the problem as a whole

The perpetrators aren’t these monsters who crawl out of the swamps and come into town, do their nasty business and then retreat into the darkness. That’s a naive notion.

Explore These Questions:
What are we learning from religious institutions?
What are we learning from sports culture?
What are we learning from porn culture?
What role does family structure play?
What role does Economics play?
What role do Race and ethnicity play?
How can we be transformative?
How can we Redefine manhood?
How can we do better with socialization of boys?

Killing the Messenger

Terms like man-hater and feminazi are designed to make women who are standing up for themselves, other women, as well as men and boys to sit down and shut up. (Special shoutout to the humans who haven’t been listening and are taking a leadership position on this issue)

Powerful Role that Men Can Play in Feminism

As men, we can say something that women can’t say; or even better said: We can be heard saying something that women often can’t be heard saying. We need more men that have the courage to stand up against injustice.

Battle of the Sexes is Nonsense

Most of us have women we deeply care about in our lives. We need men to stand with women, not against them. We live in this world together. Feminism not only stands for bettering women’s lives but also the little boy who is profoundly hurt by an adult male being violent to his mom, his sister and often himself. It sounds obvious when you say it out loud; doesn’t it?

Bystander Approach

Instead of focusing on perpetrators and victims, focus on bystanders. Bystander is anyone in a given situation that is not the perpetrator or the victim. For example friends, colleagues, co-workers, family members, those of us that are not directly involved in the act of abuse, but interact with those that are. Specifically for men, the goal is to have men that are not abusive, challenge those that are. To be clear, abuse isn’t limited to a physical beating. Sexist comments during a poker game are abusive and need bystanders to say “That’s not funny.” Bystander approach aims to give bystanders tools to stand up against injustice.

Break the silence

Leadership Issue

The responsibility of breaking this vicious system should not fall on the shoulders of a little boy, it should be with adult men with power. Adult men with power should be held accountable to take leadership roles on this issue.

Deeply caring is no longer enough. We need men with the courage, strength and moral integrity to break our complicit silence to stand up against injustice. We must stand with women and not against them. We owe this not only to women but also to our selves and our sons.

Q: WHAT CAN WE DO EVERYDAY AS MEN, TO BECOME LEADERS OF CHANGE?
WRITE TO US BELOW.
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