Today I looked up the word ‘masculinity’. Here is what I found: independent, non-emotional, aggressive, tough-skinned, competitive, clumsy, experienced, strong, active, self-confident, hard, sexually aggressive and rebellious.
Femininity on the other hand is thus described: dependent, emotional, passive, sensitive, quiet, graceful, innocent, weak, flirtatious, nurturing, self-critical, soft, sexually submissive and accepting.
Even today we have deeply ingrained male and female stereotypes that are fundamentally flawed and unnecessarily put a lot of pressure on everyone. ‘Man up’ is a phrase commonly heard and we all know what that means. ‘Strong and silent’ variety of men are considered enigmatic and attractive.
Is it a co-incidence that nearly 6000 people end their own lives in the UK every year and 4 out of 5 of them are men?
Society expects them to be non-expressive and strong, especially when it comes to their so-called ‘weaknesses’. Where does the angst go? If not outwards, it must go inwards towards self destruction.
Opening up is crucial to our survival. Allowing them the time and space to open up is crucial to their survival.
Sometimes lives are saved in noisy Emergency Departments with the help of much gadgetry, expertise and advanced life saving medications. At other times lives are saved in a quite room where one person speaks and the other listens.