Prevent Violence Against Women
The underlying causes of violence and discrimination against women are rooted in the ways women and girls have been traditionally viewed and treated in our society. Men are socialized to view women as objects, the property of men and of less value than men. These ideas are taught to men – sometimes unconsciously – and reinforced by society.
When a coach tells a boy, “You throw like a girl.”
When a dad tells his son to, “Man up.”
When men ridicule each other for showing emotion or fear.
When men make sexist jokes.
When boys use gender-based attributes to bully or discriminate.
This is the Man Box at work.
A CALL TO MEN coined the term the Man Box to illustrate the collective socialization of men. The Man Box identifies the limitations on what a man is supposed to be and what he believes. These expectations are taught to men – sometimes unconsciously – and reinforced by society. In the Man Box, men are supposed to be: powerful and dominating, fearless and in control, strong and emotionless, and successful.
In the Man Box, women are objects, the property of men and of less value than men. The teachings of the Man Box allow violence against women, girls and other marginalized groups to persist.
Research by the World Health Organization shows that men and boys who adhere to rigid, traditional notions of gender roles and masculinity are more likely to report having used violence against a partner. In 2019, the American Psychological Association released first-ever guidelines for addressing toxic masculinity. The guidelines were based on more than 40 years of research showing that traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.