Why do we encourage girls to be bold but not boys to be sensitive?
Why do we tell our girls that they can do anything boys can do, but we don’t tell our boys that they can be more like girls?
Liz Plank poses this question in her eye-opening book, “For the Love of Men.” It’s still not socially acceptable for people raised male to embody traditionally “feminine” characteristics. And this hurts men just as much as it hurts women. We socialize our boys to “man up” and be tough, not to cry, not to need soothing from others, not to need hugs, not to feel anything but anger, and not to touch each other because that would be gay.
At best, emotionally unintelligent and intimacy-starved men cannot sustain long term relationships. At worst, they become violent.
We need to collectively rewrite the rules of masculinity to include emotional awareness and expression, vulnerability, intimacy and platonic physical touch.
Only then will we all have the authentic intimacy and evolved relationships we crave.
But where do we begin?
Does it start with men’s groups that dismantle toxic masculinity by sharing emotional intimacy and platonic physical touch with each other?
Does it start with how we raise our kids? Or how dads are encouraged to show up for their kids?
And how will this mindset change spread beyond the liberal parts of this country?
I don't have the answers, but this cultural conversation feels like a pivotal moment for intimacy and I’m excited about what’s to come.