How did we come to this?
Throughout history, there existed great men who explored, achieved greatness, aimed for the skies seemingly without limitations to their imagination, who built great societies and civilizations. Yet in today’s world there are many men who seem so uncertain of their value; of what they can achieve. True there are elite men at the top who still aim for the stars but I’m speaking about the average man. Our reality. As a society, we’ve allowed an anti-male agenda to creep into every sector in which we live, burrow its way into the psyche of men and threaten the fabric of society. The anti-male agenda has been shielded and hidden by promotion of the the false notion that we men “have it easy”, “its a man’s world” and “every day is international men’s day”.
Everywhere we turn, there is a real absence of positive things to be heard about males. There is an absence of the positive portrayal of males in the mass media. There seems to be an institutionalized agenda to leave out males in positive uplifting programmes while we disproportionately uplift females. There is a women in leadership, women in agriculture, women in STEM, etc. But there is no equivalent programme for males even in areas where they are under-represented. Nothing to send the message that males are also worth the time and effort. A clear sign of our men’s perceived disposability.
Issues affecting men such as education, literacy, domestic violence, suicide, depression and mortality rates are usually ignored since it may interfere with the anti-male agenda. There is a popular slogan these days called “The future is female”. Where exactly does that leave young impressionable boys and their sense of value and place in society? The effect is not something to be minimized.
And we should not allow it to be.
The problem is that although some voices are being raised against the obvious agenda against males in society, the mainstream worldview persists that men are oppressors and women are the victims (Sugar and spice and all things nice…if I recall my childhood indoctrination properly). There doesn’t seem to be equality when it comes to how we treat our men.
The daunting question…what can we do?
But more to the point, how do we get our boys to reach their full potential in spite of the negativity? What do we say to boys who have to listen to the venom spewed about their allegedly toxic masculine behavior while their female counterparts seem to be able to get a free pass on account of their gender. Men get punished more harshly than women for the same crimes. That trend doesn’t magically appear. It has been deeply and systematically entrenched.
But I think we need to push back against all anti-male messaging with something pro-male. We need to find a way to let our boys and men know their importance. But also, we need to remove this sense of guilt that we are manufacturing and installing into the psyche of men. There is an anxiety faced by men and boys about not stepping out of the line of political correctness. A fear of admonishment by the politically correct moralists who seem to pervade society in numbers looking for something to get upset about; looking for something negative that they can somehow attribute to the “patriarchy”. How dare you state your opinion with conviction when speaking to a female counterpart with an opposing view, you sexist “mansplainer” who needs to exert your power over women through toxic masculine behavior!!
There is a need to remove this guilt from our boys and men and let them feel free to live, learn and develop. Instill in them an understanding that they have a right to feel and that their feelings are not to be decided by anyone but themselves. If you feel angry, that doesn’t make you toxic or a monster. We cannot create an environment of anxiety and then admonish men for not speaking up. That’s the kind of thing perfect storms are made of.
The understated bias faced by men and boys in society has to stop and we need to find ways to change the narrative. That much is clear!!