At A Call To Men, we teach that heterosexism is the glue that holds the Man Box together. When men or boys do things that are outside of the traditional, hyper-masculine notions of manhood, they are punished, ridiculed and bullied. When men and boys step outside the Man Box, there is a dominant majority quick to tell them they are falling short, they are not man enough, they are acting like a girl or a gay man.
If you are a father or a father figure in a young man’s life, I encourage you to consider how your collective socialization – your Man Box – might be impacting that relationship. Manhood and fatherhood are both wonderful and challenging. With the best of intentions, we can still miss the mark as a man or a father. I continue to examine my own thoughts and behaviors. I would ask all fathers and male role models to consider the ways the Man Box has shaped your thoughts about manhood, women, girls and LGBQ, trans or gender non-conforming people. Were you teased as a young boy for “throwing like a girl” (by the way, girls throw just fine!) or “crying like a b****” or dressing a certain way? Did you react to that criticism by trying to overcompensate or act more traditionally masculine? How did your relationship with your own father impact the kind of father you want to be?
Parenthood requires constant learning and growth – here are some tips for letting your children know the security and love he/she/they have always received is still intact and always will be.