We talk a lot about how sexism affects women, but sexism is a double-edged sword. It not only has massive effects on women and how they go about their lives, but negatively impacts men in ways we tend to ignore. For example, consider young boys of about 12 or 13 – what emotions do they openly show? Do they hug their friends?
Now consider girls of the same age, and the difference is astounding. Young girls are very physically affectionate with their close friends; they openly share emotions and are seen showing a much wider range of them. Young boys are limited in their expression because of how our society views masculinity. Showing sadness is a sign of weakness, and elation is seen as caring too much. This leads to many problems with boys growing into men and the way they have relationships and show emotions later in life.
Many men in adulthood don’t have close friendships with other men the same way women do with other women. This is detrimental to their emotional and mental well-being and also causes issues when they get into relationships with women. There is a stigma in our society that only women can show emotions; therefore men may only show deep emotions to their female partners. This is unhealthy, and women must handle a lot of extra emotional labor because of this. Men must withhold their feelings until they have a female partner to share them with and feel vulnerable in front of. This is one of the leading reasons men have higher rates of suicide than women; women have built emotional support systems, while men are made to suffer alone or put the burden on only one person.
The stigmas surrounding men and their emotions need to come to an end, and putting value in those emotions is the first step towards that.
Cover Photo from “The Guardian”