By working to unlock the Man Box, we will not only make life better for boys and men, but we will also make life safer for girls and women.
Proceed with caution. It’s not pretty.
Culturally men are taught from young ages not to cry, not to feel, not to talk about their pain. The Man Box code says men should be independent and never show vulnerability. Showing vulnerability is considered weak and feminine.
This code might seem admirable to those who still believe in superheroes, but, feminine or not, showing vulnerability is how humans connect with one another; and how they signal when they need love and/or support. Consequently, men who find themselves trapped in the box rarely get their emotional needs met.
Lucky men have a friend, family member, or small network (usually from childhood) that makes them feel safe being honest and reaching out for support; but most are not lucky. A study done by the University of Arizona and Duke University asked men how many close friends they had; the most common response was zero.
Unmet emotional needs make it likely that men will use substances or activities to disguise or numb their feelings. Alcohol, drugs, pornography, violence, and even suicide are all common ways men cope when they’re in pain. Let’s look at a few statistics:
- The Center for Disease Control says almost 1 in 5 men will meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their life.
- A National Survey on Drug Use found that 1 in 10 men reported using illegal drugs in the last month.
- A survey by the Barna Group fround 63% of men ages 18-30 viewed pornography several times a week or more.
- The Department of Justice says men make up 75-80% of violent offenders in the United States.
- The American Bar Association says men commit 83% of spousal murders.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says 77.9% of all suicides in 2013 were male.
You will notice that much of the violence women experience is rooted in the problems men experience. Just like women’s issues impact more than just women, men’s issues impact more than just men.There’s no question it’s possible for men to have close, fulfilling and supportive relationships that can sustain them through difficult times, but the pressure imposed by the Man Box makes it much more difficult. By working to unlock the Man Box, we will not only make life better for boys and men, but we will also make life safer for girls and women.
Photo Credit—Pixabay: tookapic