Men and people who are raising young men.
Toxic shame which leads to unhealthy masculinity which leads to disassociation, trauma, violence, and—on a systemic level—oppression….
...stems from shame around masculinity and fear of being a ‘bad’ man.
Just as we must teach our girls and gender non-conforming folks that they are not too much we must teach young men: Your emotions are welcome.
You are not wrong or dirty for desiring sx.
You are not weak to seek connection.
You are allowed to feel disappointment and pride equally.
Your consciously expressed anger is not scary.
Your energy and strength are needed.
You do not have to be perfect.
You are free to dream, think, fantasize as you wish without judgement.
Learn. Please learn how to practice ongoing conversations with people in your life. Learn how to be a positive community member who can care for people without unnecessary self-sacrifice. Consciously and intentionally create space for people who do not have your privilege and who are less safe in their bodies than you are. Maybe cool it with bold declarative statements and shouting others down about their take on mundane issues. Be curious. Ask questions. But please do NOT hold back or hide your true nature. Holding back is the thing I have to unravel in every man that I work with. Men are terrified of being 'bad' and so anxious about doing or saying the wrong thing.
This is why so many act in passive aggressive and scorekeeping ways. It’s why they lie or withhold. It’s why they cross their own boundaries, bypass their dreams, and feel resentful. It’s why they lash out.
We don’t need more scared men. Scared men are messy, passive, and dangerous.
Integrity not perfectionism.
Kindness not ‘goodness’.
Clear values not rules and systems.
Loving feedback not punishment.
Commitment not discipline.
Intentional space and freedom to do what feels good for their minds and bodies NOT ‘boys will be boys’ and eye rolls.
Not more structures. Not more philosophy. Not more ways to fail.