Healthy Manhood in Times of Crisis

This is a difficult time for people worldwide, and the COVID-19 crisis is likely to impact our lives and our communities for the foreseeable future. A Call to Men is working with event organizers and attendees to update them on the status of all in-person events and trainings through May.

And we also want to call on everyone in our community to step up — and all of those who are male-identifed to step outside of the Man Box — during this crisis. Because in times of crisis, practicing healthy manhood becomes even more important than ever.

Those of us who identify as men have received countless messages all of our lives — overt and subtle — that being a man means “being in control.” We’ve been socialized to avoid showing vulnerability at all costs, never to ask for help, and to devalue the voices of women. These “Man Box” traits are dangerous all the time, and they’re even worse during a global crisis.

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This is a moment for us to take a deep breath and be aware of the ways we’ve been conditioned to shun help, to hide vulnerability.

These “Man Box” traits can be deadly at a time like this — let’s commit together to break out of the box and take care of ourselves and each other:

Listen to the experts — Too often, we see men ignore the experts because they want to be the expert. This is a time to listen to and heed public health experts. Your community depends on it.

Ask for help if you need it — If you’re feeling sick, call your doctor. If you need help with child care, with anxiety, with anything, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Strong people know when they need help.

Share your emotions — We’re all anxious right now. It’s ok to be open about how you’re feeling. It will help you connect with others. If you keep your emotions bottled up, they’re likely to manifest in other ways — like anger.

Be a leader, and a teammate — Leadership is essential in times of crisis, but leadership doesn’t mean “do it my way.” Leadership means listening, understanding, and serving as a calm guide.

Connect with your community — Don’t let physical distancing mean social isolation. Make the effort to connect on video with friends and family. Check in on vulnerable friends — and “strong” friends, too. Show up (safely) — both for them and for you.

Rest and recharge — You’re no use to anyone if you’re exhausted or frazzled. Take time to take care of yourself and stay healthy. Get eight hours of sleep. Get some exercise. Your community needs you healthy right now more than ever.

Parent with compassion — Parents are being called upon to guide our children through unprecedented times right now. We urge you to listen to your children’s needs and to show up as a parent. They need you now.

We also know that violence against women and girls often spikes during times of isolation, and home isn’t safe for everyone. We urge you to support your local violence intervention and prevention organizations and support vulnerable individuals in your community.

We’ll be posting additional updates soon as the situation continues to develop.