Know Better, Do Better: Understanding How Healthy Masculinity Leads to Healthy Sexuality for Boys and Men
- Discuss characteristics and traits associated with masculinity.
- Discuss the “Man Box” and the collective socialization of boys and men.
- Understand the importance of redefining gender roles.
- Learn what we can do to help support boys and men and promote healthier outcomes.
Full Video Transcript:
(Please bear in mind that this transcript was automatically generated, and may have errors)
(Burton) thank you so much for being here we really appreciate it we know that time is is fleeting and it’s hard to fit things into people’s schedule so thank you for being here we’re honored to have you I’m very excited to have this conversation it’s something that I’m very passionate about it’s something that the past 10 years or so of my career I’ve sort of dove into the gender-based violence prevention field and previous that I was working as a health educator so now I get to sort of marry those two passions of mine and have this conversation with y’all I am a very laid-back presenter so if you all want to say anything feel free to take yourself off mute if you want to turn your camera on I would love to see your faces I always love engaging with people that’s usually what’s lost when we do virtual trainings because I love being in the room and feeling people’s energy and feeding off of that energy and if you want to say anything in the chat go ahead and type that Jordan will be managing the chat and she’ll be she’ll be sure to make sure that your comment is heard
(Burton) so I just want to talk a little bit today about our objectives so what I hope you take away from today is that this conversation is not a oneoff it’s something that is sort of like a stepping stone to get us started when we talk about healthy masculinity and before we can even start the topic it’s important for me to acknowledge that female identifying folks have been doing this work for many many many years and they are not always met with openness and acceptance yet they have still paved the way for the work that we are currently doing today and my hope is that more male identifying folks can use their platform and use their voice to call other male identifying folks into the fold so our first objective is that we’re going to discuss the characteristics and traits that are associated with masculinity and then we’re going to discuss this term called the manbox some of you may have heard of it before we’ll break that down what it looks like and the collective socialization of boys and men how we got to this place in our society now where it stems from and what that really looks like and then I hope that we understand the importance of redefining gender roles gender roles are very important when we have this conversation about masculinity and redefining those will be an important piece of today’s topic and lastly hopefully we can take away some tangible things that can help us support boys and men and promote those healthier outcomes and before we go further just want to provide this activation warning some of the things that were discussed today can be triggering for folks and your your well-being is very important to us so please take care of yourselves first and foremost however that may look for you if you are feeling activated at any moment go ahead and take care of yourself and that would be greatly appreciated
(Burton) so some important definitions I wanted to go over with folks that are important for this conversation specifically I want to acknowledge that gender exist on a spectr we will talk about male identifying folks boys and men today but I know that gender is far from a binary construct but like I said as we have this Con conversation today we will be focusing the conversation on siset M and some of you may be thinking why are we doing that and the simple answer is that we and when I say we I mean our Collective Society in general tell men to be violent specifically siset men if you have not heard the term siset I’m happy to discuss it with you today if you have heard of the term then this will be a review and hopefully it will help get your mind in the right place for today’s conversation so CIS short for cisgender is a term that means whatever gender you are now is the same as what was presed for you at Birth CIS people can be men or women because those are the labels that those are the gender is that doctors label people at Birth a person’s gender is different from their sexuality therefore you can be cisgender you can be straight gay lesbian bisexual queer or any other sexuality just as you can be Trans in any sexuality as well now siset refers to a gender identity as well as a sexual identity and this two-part identity means that a person is both cisgender and heterosexual and lastly it’s critical to acknowledge that sis siset folks have societal privileges such such as not being subjected to gender or sexuality based discrimination and that privilege allows them to generally not have to think about their sexual orientation or their gender identity and also that privilege is baked into male privilege and that many of our country systems are built for and allow men to succeed and Thrive at a much higher rate than folks who identify as other genders and I also would like to acknowledge that I myself identify as a siset man so I understand how this topic can be received by some so I and hear me out this is not a webinar focused on painting men as inherently terrible people it’s actually quite the opposite it’s about understanding why men are the way we are and how we can help men become healthier versions of ourselves any questions I know I went through that very quickly some of these slides will feel like it goes very quickly any questions any thoughts about definitions anyone having any difficulty with that awesome
What does it mean to “be a man”?
(Burton) so since we have a smaller group today I would just like to ask that folks if you want to say something again you can turn your mic on or you can tap in type into the chat what does it mean to be a man when you think about being a man what traits or characteristics come to mind all the above positive negative in between what traits or characteristics come to mind and Jordan if you don’t mind if people type into the chat if you can just read those please that’d be awesome absolutely yeah Danny says provider okay Nicole says strong independent awesome Danny also says can’t show feelings y emotional suppression Paula says leader leader Nicole said aggressive okay Jaylen says I’ve realized that the same traits that make a quote unquote man can be the same traits expected for anyone slash everyone and Erica says strong corre awesome any other thoughts so let’s keep those characteristics and those traits in mind I think I heard leader strong aggressive any trait that can be associated with a man can be associated with any agender let’s keep all of those traits in mind
A “real man” isn’t real
(Burton) so we often hear the quote in our society quote unquote real man and a real man isn’t real and we’ll talk about that today often times when we have this conversation those are the characteristics or the traits that come across the confidence tough aggressive independent leader strong a large majority of societal societal ideas about masculinity sort of the model to which men are supposed to Aspire those are very rigid those are traditional and many of those are old-fashioned even though our culture has has changed drastically over the past decade or so the qualities we value and instill in boys and men to be a real man such as domination control physical strength violence emotional restraint excluding anger anger is the one emotion that men are allowed to show those remain very prevalent and the reality is that these qualities were heavily promoted during European colonialism in the 19th century when Nations sought above all else to dominate other cultures and that can sometimes be sort of this elephant in the room colonialism is at the core of a lot of the harmful ideas and systems of Oppression that are still prevalent today in our society
The Complexity of Colonialism and Masculinity
(Burton) we’re going to talk about that elephant in the room the complexity of colonialism and masculinity so colonialism has had a complex and I would even say multifaceted effect on various aspects of society including the construction and perception of masculinity and there are many ways that colonialism shows up in masculinity but for today’s conversation I tried to narrow it down to three that I felt like were sort of the most important and the first one is the imposition of gender roles Colonial Powers often imposed their own gender norms and roles on the colonized societies and this led to the marginalization of masculinity replacing them with replacing the indigenous notion of masculinity with these Western ideals and that imposition of specific gender roles may have reinforced certain expectations and behaviors associated with masculinity one of the most important is the racialization of masculinity colonialism has often involved the racialization of both men and women and those stereotypes and prejudices associated with masculinity can be linked to racial characteristics and that’s perpetuating harmful and limiting views about the ideal of the ideal or Superior form of masculinity and this contribution of dehanization and objectification it happen to all the colonized folks so when we think about that when we think about the core of racialization of masculinity that’s still prevalent in today’s society that’s one of those things that can still be seen s subtly and overtly in many different cultures and it’s something that we still deal with today and lastly violence and militarization so Colonial Powers often use military forces we know to establish and maintain control the the association of masculinity with power and dominance can be reinforced through militarization as men were were intentionally and disproportionately involved in military activities during and after colonization and even today and this likely contributed to this sort of hyper masculine image linked to aggression and control some of those traits that folks mentioned earlier that can be directly tied to colonialism and its effect on those long-term effects and like I said there are many other ways that colonialism has impacted our society both negatively and positively but in the interest of our time today we can’t dive too deep into it so if you would like more resources on the effects of colonization on masculinity please feel free to reach out to me after the webinar today and I can provide those to you we can chat about it I’m happy to do that as well because it’s a really important topic and I wish that we could talk a little bit more about it today but we are going to go ahead and move on if there are no questions no thoughts about colonialism
Unpack the “man box”
(Burton) I want to unpack the manbox with y’all so some of you may have heard of this term before it sort of has replaced what in the 80s and 90s was called the man card like people’s man card could be revoked it’s been replaced with this term the man box which is more detailed more descriptive and tells a little bit more about the story so whether they are being told to be a man or toughen up or that Boys Don’t Cry young boys and men are often on the receiving end of messages that create rigid rules around masculinity right so this kind of harmful masculinity is rooted in negative aspects of traditional masculinity that pressure boys and men to live up to this unattainable standard of manhood and that’s often very isolating and that can be very damaging and that can be that can be very hard for a lot of folks to deal with and the thing about it is that this kind of this kind of harmful masculinity is rooted in this pressure that boys and men have to live up to something that isn’t even real as we just talked about it’s not a real standard to to show to people and in 2013 author and gender-based violence preventionist Mark green coined this term the manbox and it’s a structure something that boys learn at an early age that they need to fit into and the sort of the central premise of the man box is that if you don’t fit in you’re not that real man that we talked about is not real and not being a real man carries a very heavy social price for boys and men boys learn that they need to prove that they fit in the box and as they grow into men they realize they have to continually prove their worthiness as men throughout their lives and the frame of the man box is made up of comparison competition and and performance amongst men and it’s by men and it’s for men it’s to be accepted into that peer group excuse me sorry and that means that this is when boys and men use gender policing to push someone else further out of the box and also it keeps themselves firmly in the Box because it’s a hierarchy men compete against one another in a subtle in subtle ways and in obvious ways to prove who’s the winner or the alpha male and men who are not the alpha male are criticized and ostracized by their male peers years and sometimes by other genders as well for not being manly enough and sort of the the meat or the the glue in the nails of the framework are feelings of Shame and inade inadequacy and the belief that they are not good enough to be a real man and that’s that’s very difficult for for boys and for young men to deal with is that they want to be accepted by their peer group and this is a way to to control it’s a way to control folks it’s a way to again keep folks squarely and firmly in that box so covering the framework of the manbox our society’s perceptions of what it means to be a real man including like someone said earlier limited emotional expression being aggressive being tough being strong young men learn to see this this covering or this mask as the ideal of masculinity and then it’s it’s emphasized and it’s affirmed in popular popular action movies in video games in sports and in many other forms of Pop Culture those messages are being reinforced so as boys grow up their peers parents and even significant others Tell Them Boys Don’t Cry don’t be a girl be strong they learn to feel ashamed of emotionality and vulnerability qualities that we as people connect with and really need to become healthier versions of ourselves they are expected to prove their masculinity and often that means aggression as we’ve talked about and I think one of the other important notes of this old belief of what it means to be a real man is through sexual Conquest and that’s not talked about enough this idea that healthy men need to satisfy their Instinct through sex was commonly commonly accepted as a normal relationship between men and women so the traditional and still dominant idea of masculinity means accepting and even encouraging that male Conquest and that’s M’s P male power over others and emotional rest restraint at the same time
Tony Porter he’s: A call to men
(Burton) so on the on the conversation of the man boox I want to share a video with you all next this is Tony Porter he’s an author educator and activist who has been working to advance social justice issues for a very very long time he’s the co-founder of a call to men he’s internationally recognized for his efforts and he is someone that throughout my professional career I have followed I’ve watched several TED talks of his and participated in some of his programming he’s been in the healthy masculinity field for a very long time and he did a TED Talk 2010 and he sort of allows himself to be vulnerable and utiliz space in his platform to talk about what what the manbox looks like in the real life and what it’s looked like in his life and I think many sis hat men could watch this video and really relate to the feelings that he had when he experienced different things throughout his life and it’s an important piece for us to think about in this conversation as well how men siset men are dealing with this on a daily basis and why some of the decisions they make can seem really asinine and crazy we’re like why would you ever do that so we’ll we’ll watch this video I also want to say that I want to offer an activation warning with this video as well there are some graphic things discussed in this video and if anything is triggering to you at all please like I said before take care of yourself if you need to step away if you need to turn the video on mute whatever you need to do please take care of yourself first and foremost so I’m going to play this video for you all and Jordan let me know if the volume is (Tiny)okay looking good I grew up in New York City H looks good har in the Bronx growing up as a boy was taught that the audio went away for some reason oh it’s because you muted yourself B and you can’t mute that men leave and you should just did you say the audio is not good just you can’t mute your mic or we lose the audio so you just have to sorry follow we say that men are superior women are inferior that men are strong women are weak that women are of less value property of men and objects particularly sexual objects I’ve later come to know that to be the collective socialization of men better known as the man boox see this man boox has in it all the ingredients of how we Define what it means to be a man now I also want to say without a doubt there are some wonderful wonderful absolutely wonderful things about being a man well at the same time there’s some stuff that’s just straight up twisted and we really need to begin to challenge look at it and and really get in the process of deconstructing redefining what we come to know as manhood this is my two at home Kendall and Jade they’re 11 and 12 Kendall’s 15 months over the Jade there’s a period of time you know when my wife her name is Tammy and I we just got real busy and Big bamboom K J right and when they were about five and six four and five you know Jade could come to me it didn’t matter come to me crying you know it didn’t matter what she was crying about she can get on my knee she can snot my sleeve up just cried Cried Out Daddy got you that’s all that’s important now Kendall on the other hand like I said he’s only 15 months older than her he come to me crying it’s like soon as I would hear him crying a clock would go off you know I would give the boy probably about 30 seconds which means by the time he got to me I was already saying things like why you crying hold your head up look at me explain to me what’s wrong tell me what’s wrong I can’t understand you why you’re crying and out of my own frustration of my role and responsib ability of building him up as a man to to fit into these guidelines these structures that are defining this man box I would find myself saying things like just go in your room just go go on in your room sit down get yourself together and come back and talk to me when you could talk to me like a what like a man and he’s five years old you know as I grow in life I would say to myself know my God what’s wrong with me what am I doing you know why why would I do this and I think back I think back to my father there was a time in my life where we had a very troubl experience in our family my brother Henry he died tragically when we was teenagers we lived in New York City as I said we lived in the Bronx at the time and the burial was place called long Isen about it was about two hours outside of the city and as we were preparing to come back from the burial you know the cars sto at the bathroom you know let folks take care of themselves for the long ride back to the city and the lemine empties out my mother my sister my auntie they all get out but my father and I stayed in a limousine and no sooner than the women got out he burst out crying he didn’t want to cry in front of me but he knew he wasn’t going to make it back to the city it was better me than allow himself to express these feelings and emotions in front of the women and and this is a man who 10 minutes ago had just put his teenage son in the ground I something I just can’t even I just can’t even imagine the thing that sticks with me the most is that he was apologizing to me for crying in front of me and at the same time he was also giving me props Lifting me up but not crying you know I come to also look at this as this this fear that we have as men this fear that just have us paralyzed holding us Hostage to this man box I can remember speaking to a 12y old boy a football player and I asked him I said how would you feel if in front of all the players your coach told you you were playing like a girl now I expected him to say something like I’ll be sad I’ll be mad I’ll be angry or something like that no the boy said to me the boy said to me it would destroy me and I said to myself God if it would destroy him to be called a girl what are we then teaching him about girls it took me back to a time when I was about 12 years old I grew up in tenement buildings you know in the inner city at this time we’re living in the Bronx and in the building next to where I lived there was a guy named Johnny he’s about 16 years old and we were all about 12 years old younger guys and he was hanging out with all this younger guys and this guy he was up to a lot of no good he was a kind of kid with parents were have to wonder what this 16 year old boy doing with these 12 year old boys and he did spend a lot of time up to no good he was a troubled kid you know his mother had died from a heroin overdose he’s being raised by his grandmother his father wasn’t on the set his Grand mother had two jobs he was home alone a lot but I gotta tell you we young guys we looked up to this dude man he was cool he was fine that’s what his sister said he was fine right he was having sex you know we all looked up there him so one day I’m out in front of the house doing something just playing around doing something I don’t know what he looks out his window he calls me upstairs he said hey a they call me Anthony growing up as a kidy Anthony come on upstairs Johnny call you go so I run right upstairs as he opens the door he says to me do you want something now I immediately knew what he meant because For Me growing up at that time and our relationship with this man box do you want some me one or two things sex or drugs and we weren’t doing drugs now my box my card my man box card was immediately in Jeopardy two things one I never had sex we don’t talk about that as men you only tell your dearest closest friends want to SEC for Life the first time you had sex for everybody else we go around like we’ve been having sex since we was two they ain’t no first time the other thing I couldn’t tell him is that I didn’t want any you know that’s even worse we supposed to always be on the prow women are object especially sexual objects so anyway I couldn’t tell them any of that so like my mother would say make a long story short I just simply said to Johnny yes he told me go in his room I go in his room on his bed is a girl from the neighborhood named Shi she’s 16 years old she’s new she’s what I know today to be mentally ill higher functioning at times than others we had a whole Choice worth you know inappropriate names for her anyway Johnny had just gotten through having sex with her well he actually raped her but he would say he had sex with her because while Sheila never said no she also never said yes so he was offering me the opportunity to do the same so when I go in the room I close the door folks I’m petrified I stand with my back to the door so Johnny can’t bust in the room and see that I’m not doing anything and I stand there long enough that I could have actually done something so now I’m no longer trying to figure out what I’m gonna do I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna get out of this room so in my 12 years of Wis I zip my pants down I walk out into the living room and lo beh to me while I was in the room with Sheila Johnny was back at the window calling guys up so now it’s a living room full of guys like you know like the waiting room in the doctor’s office and they asked me how was it and I said to them it was good and I zip my pants up in front of him and I head for the door now I say this all with remorse and I was feeling a tremendous amount of remorse at that time but I was conflicting because while I was feeling remorse I was excited because I didn’t get caught but I knew I felt bad about what was happening this fear getting outside the band box totally envel en Blok me I was way more important to me about me and my man boox card than about Sheila and what was happening to her see collectively we as men are taught to have less value in women to view them as property and the objects of men we see that as an equation that equals violence against women we as men good men the large majority of men we operate on the foundation of this this whole Collective socialization we kind of see ourselves separate but we’re very much a part of it you see we have to come to understand that less value property and objectification is the foundation and violence can’t happen without it so we’re very much a part of the solution as well as the problem the Center for Disease Control says that men’s violence against women is at epidemic proportions is a nber one Health concern for women in this country and abroad so quickly I like to just say you know this is my love of my life my daughter Jay the world I Envision for her how do I want men to be acting and behaving I need you on board I need you with me I need you working with me and me working with you on how we raise our sons and teach them to be men that is okay to not be dominating that is okay to have feelings and emotions that is okay to promote equality that is okay to have women who are just friends and that’s it that is okay to behold that my Liberation as a man is tied to your Liberation as a woman I remember asking a nyear old boy I asked a nine-year-old boy What would life be like for you if you didn’t have to adhere to this man box he said to me I would be free thank you folks
Learning the Rules
(Burton) all right I know that’s that can be a very heavy video for folks and that can be a lot to take in anybody want to share any thoughts about that did anything resonate with you or stand out to you about what Tony had to say I would love to hear your thoughts Jaylen said in the chat I wish men had more safe spaces to talk about things like this I completely agree Jaylen that Nicole also agrees I thought I saw somebody come off mute maybe yeah I was gonna say I’ve seen this before and I think it’s just really cool how he talks about like the things he’s done wrong in the past because like just admitting that to other people I think is really huge and it just gives them like the power to also do that absolutely and I think that’s a really important that’s a really important thought PNY because I feel like so many fol folks specifically siset men have had experiences that they either regret or could have done something differently and that’s part of that self-awareness journey and that’s part of realizing sort of how we can learn from those things that have happened to us in the past it’s a really good point any other comments Jordan Erica said I’m impressed with his vulnerability and honesty and also reflecting that his doing this is uncommon to be this vulnerable completely agree so thinking about that video thinking about some of the things that Tony said how do how do boys and young men learn those rules how do we learn the rules of what it means to be in the manbox because no one no one overtly comes out and says this is what you have to do you have to do this you have to do this you can’t do this so how are those things taught I’m going to share something really quick with you all about learning the rules starting from childhood boys and men are often called out for behavior that doesn’t match society’s definition of manhood it typically takes the form of antagonizing gender policing physical aggression against them such as hitting bullying or even sexual assault this leaves boys with two choices go along with stereotypical male views or ideals even if they don’t personally agree with them and sometimes at the expense of someone else’s health or well-being or push back against the rules and feel like they’re quote unquote going against the grain and risk social status acceptance and belonging these unhealthy ideas about Boyhood and manhood are reproduced in families schools communities and in the media these harmful ideas about manhood lead to negative outcomes that hurt boys and men themselves as well as girls women and our communities ideas about gender how Society expects boys girls and all children as well as adults to be are among the first things children learn about the world boys regardless of country ethnicity or economic situation are socialized to do several things one cut themselves off from from important relationships two repress their emotions three overemphasize competition and achievement four sacrifice their health five both use and experience violence and six take unwise risks that endanger their lives so a little bit about what we’ve already talked about is that there are many ways that those messages are reinforced with boys and young men and one of the things that I want to talk about is nber one cutting themselves off from important relationships so this is my nine-year-old son and my six-year-old daughter and becoming a father sort of was a piece of my my arc and my self-awareness about masculinity and sort of the the things that I wanted to instill in my son and I also got to see how young boys are socialized by our society so if you think about maybe you’ve been around younger boys or you have some in your life the majority the large majority of of young ones they generally generally like to show physical affection and that is a big piece of connecting with other people and developing as youth is that that AFF that we show to each other and that connection that we make and as boys start to get older that message is told to them that you can’t show physical affection that you can’t have those intimate relationships with other people because then that can be seen as weak so I think about a 5-year-old boy in a playground holding hands hugging generally showing that affection and as they get older you don’t see them holding hands you don’t see them hugging their friends as much and that’s that’s a piece of like that’s a small piece of our our society that a lot of people don’t even think about is that their relationships change and I think about folks around my age who identify as male and they don’t necessarily have deep intimate relationships like talking on the phone to friends or checking in with friends you see that less and less amongst the male population and a large part of that is because Society is telling them that that is not what they are supposed to do they are not supposed to have those connections
(Burton) so I know I’ve talked a lot about sort of the negative aspects of masculinity and I want to focus a little bit more about healthy masculinity and what we can do to make a difference and what we can do to sort of Empower young boys and men to become healthier versions of themselves but first I want to share you some statistics of the why because they begin to tell the story of why we need to redefine masculinity
Statistics begin to tell the story
(Burton) so according to the 2020 us doj men accounted for 80.4% of persons arrested for violent crimes if you think about that statistics that that’s staggering 80.4% of people arrested for violent crimes were men and according to the National Coalition against domestic violence women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to Contracting HIV other SDI due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress and women abused by their intimate Partners oh I’m sorry I just said that one on average nearly 20 people per minute are phys 20 people per minute are phys sorry 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States so all of that to say that physical mental and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence and intimate partner violence is often linked with u men and male identifying folks and that causes a a whole list of unintended pregnancy in general miscarriages chronic pain disability anxiety post-traatic stress disorder a lot of those negative Health outcomes can come from that intimate partner violence that that ultimately is is largely represented by a lot of men causing that and that’s just a small snippet of the problem but we do know that men are disproportionately accounting for the violence in our society and just thinking about the why we need to redefine these gender roles and why we need to redefine masculinity
We need to redefine gender norms…
(Burton) there’s a lot of more there’s a lot more male involvement projects popping up around where you see people trying to engage boys and and engage men and that’s really awesome and we need those programs but if these programs are going to be successful we ultimately need to understand and support the reasons for having these programs in our communities and I would say one of the most important things is that our men are hurting other people as I mentioned in the last slide violence in our relationships in our families and our communities they continue to be one of the most significant social issues of our time as Tony mentioned in his Ted Talk the CDC said that it’s an epidemic it’s a it’s it’s it’s at a disproportionate height and that’s because there’s so much violence taking place and so much more over the last 20 years and much of it’s being done by men and teenage boys so that remembering that men have been given this message of violence and aggression from early on in life but we can work to stop that cycle we can work to interject so that that violence doesn’t continue and doesn’t perpetuate and not only are men hurting others but they’re hurting themselves and many men are are in pain pain that we can see they’re in physical pain mental or emotional but usually it’s all three and some men recognize this but many men do not often we try not to pay attention to that pain we’ve learned to suck it up hold it in we begin to believe that admitting our pain to others is an admission of weakness and that going back to the man boox that’s proof of not being a real man and it’s it’s not wanting to let other people down and our society tells us that through gender policing that it’s not okay to show that weakness and fear we know that is frequently an invitation to be shamed and abused by other males and we often end up isolated and Afraid in our own pain and this is where addictive and abusive behaviors can become sort of that unhealthy Outlet used to cope with this hidden pain masculinity is in transition and this is awesome I love that we are starting to redefine this and that younger Generations continue to push the envelope and continue to call into question sort of this idea of masculinity but our understanding of what it takes to be a successful man it’s still going through big changes and it’s a step but we’re not there we still have a lot more work to do we are we as men are being called upon to develop new ways of relating to our emotions to our partners and significant others to our children and even to our work and this may seem like a simple thing for some people sort of just be a better person while that is true it can be a little bit more complicated than that the difficult component of this this self-growth journey and the self-awareness Journey that I mentioned is that it can very easily leave men feeling confused disoriented and sometimes overwhelmed when pushing back against those ideals as Illustrated in that that short video when pushing back against those that are ingrained in so many aspects of our society that can become a really daunting task for a lot of people it’s not easy to go against the the majority of what many peers think in the way that they they view things and lastly because I am who I am I believe that there is good in I’m not going to say all people there is good in the majority of people and the majority of people want to be good people and want to help and many men care about violence and oppression and inequality and Liberation and healing although we may want to take a stand or speak out or make a difference many men and we won’t admit this but often feel uncertain scared isolated silenced sometimes powerless and those are not traits that men are used to navigating when you’re not when you’re not openly allowed to feel those things and those are the things that you’re internally feeling that can that can be a struggle that can be an internal struggle so when men attempt to actually attempt to show up as allies true allies not performative allies and I know that can be a little bit difficult to decipher at times we can encourage them to use their voice and their platform in a positive way and lead from the back
Healthy Masculinity can Lead to Healthy Sexuality
(Burton) so tying My Two Worlds together healthy masculinity and healthy sexuality we can’t begin the conversation of healthy masculinity until we talk about sort of the foundation of it which we just did and where it comes from and why it is the way it is and what can we do to change
(Burton) that so a big part of the research that I’ve done and the data that I use it comes from an organization called eam Mundo it was previously known as promundo but I think about five or 10 years ago they rebranded to eundo and it’s a a fem feminist aligned organization that provides data on masculinity ways that gender Norms impact lives and communities and they have done many many years of research around the world not just in the US but they they get get their data from all around the world so this specific smary provides both quantitative and qualitative data from over 10 countries around the world about the connection of masculinity and healthy sexuality and as you see in the quote men and adolescent boys who adhere to harmful masculine Norms tend to have negative attitudes towards condom use have more sexual partners and greater chances of Contracting sis so when we look at that it seems simple right like help like neg toxic masculinity can lead to negative Health outcomes so if we flip that healthy masculinity can lead to better and healthier outcomes because we are learning how to be a healthier version of oursel so if we’re not adhering to those harmful masculine Norms then we can have more positive interactions with condom use and sexual partners and greater and less chances of Contracting STI the one thing that I I do like about aquamundo is it has a lot of different Digest and again if you want more information about this I can I’m glad I’m glad to provide that to you after the webinar if you want to reach out to me we can chat more about ecomundo and how it shows up in different cultures because it’s always interesting interesting to see the data from a different country and sort of their ideas about masculinity versus the US’s version of masculinity because those are very different and colonialism like I said in the beginning is a huge part of that and despite I would say despite many social and economic advantages that that men have we are less likely than women to seek Health Care to take an HIV test to adhere to different treatments specifically HIV treatment and that also leads to poorer outcomes poor health outcomes and that’s a big part of of what we can change as facilitators direct service service providers Community organizations all folks who work with with boys and young men we can sort of start to change that
What can we do?
(Burton) narrative and here are some ways that we can change that some things that I hope we can take away from today’s conversation is that it may seem Bleak from some of the things that I’ve said but we can make a difference and it’s not always very difficult to do sometimes it’s very something very subtle and something very easy and we can start with comprehensive sexual education and that’s very important we can focus on education that seeks to identify to challenge and to change those harmful gender Norms those traditional gender norms and it’s more important now than ever and it needs to start early with boys as young as kindergarten having these conversations about healthy masculinity and a healthy version of yourself when boys and men are exposed to these programs that ask them to identify Challenge and change those Norms they are more likely to report increased contraceptive use including condom use and it makes them more comfortable it makes them more comfortable having that conversation with their Partners it makes them more comfortable making that healthy decision if we equip them with those tools and I know that doesn’t come as a surprise to many people in this webinar but compr comprehensive sexual education Works it can directly lead to those healthier outcomes the second thing that we can do is we can promote verbalization of emotion excuse me we can show boys how to reduce negative elements of masculinity in their lives by making it okay to verbalize those emotions as Tony Porter stood on stage and did verbalize how you’re feeling verbalize what’s going on we can Empower them to make those healthier choices and less risky choices while celebrating masculinity for all the ways that does not disenfranchise them celebrate the good pieces of masculinity and connecting those those more traditional what we call softer traits like emotional connection with people and really being in tune with your emotions and that self-awareness is a very important component we should be sure to pay attention to nurturing and supporting their mental health and by being aware of the ways that gender norms have shaped their outlooks and behavior so thinking about potentially their home life their spiritual or religious life their peers where they grew up all of those things play a role so keeping that in mind as we work with young boys and young men that a lot of they’re getting those reinforced messages from a lot of different places so how can we show up and how can we engage them in a meaningful way knowing that and we can start that process by acknowledging that men just like other genders have gendered life experiences acknowledging that honoring that and understanding that is a big a big step towards moving in the right direction and lastly we can hold space for men to learn and grow and the term holding space became popular because of a woman named Heather PL who was a writer who lived in Canada and I believe it was around 2015 she wrote a blog post and and she described holding space as being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever Journey they’re on without judging them making them feel inadequate trying to fix them or trying to impact the outcome so holding space refers to the act of being fully present with someone else without judgment or distraction so that that person can share their experiences and their perspective I think someone wrote in the chat earlier I wish that we could create more spaces like that we actually can we can create those those spaces and in practice that’s what it looks like creating that safe accepting environment engaging in attentive listening offering that non-judgmental support if you can start a group of male identifying folks and you can just have open conversations about lived experiences that’s a really great start that’s a really great Foundation of of creating that place where folks know I can come in here and be my whole self because often times it’s exhausting it’s exhausting to wear a mask it’s exhausting to feel like you have to prove your masculinity at different turns of your life so having that space can feel very I would say relieving to to many folks to know that they have that space and research shows that holding space can reduce stress and anxiety it can enhance relationships and it can improve mental and and mental health and well-being so there are some things that we can do to sort of start that journey of of not only providing healthier outcomes for boys but helping them discover a healthier version of themselves so if we can if we can do those three things at a start there are a lot more things that we can do I would love to chat with y’all more about that if anyone is interested like I said feel free to reach out we can talk about what it looks like to start a male identifying group a focus I mean not not a focus group a peer peer group I would love to have that conversation on what that looks like in practice and and some things that we can do to sort of create those spaces for folks are there any
(Burton) if there are no questions I would just like to say thank you all again for joining us today thank you for being on the webinar thank you for taking part in this conversation you have our contact information Jordan will follow up with an email with a survey and if you all have the time we would love if you could fill that out and let us know how we did how we can improve all of those all of that is very helpful to us hey Burton there is a question that got put in the chat it is what’s the best way to start this conversation with older men I would say the best way to start this conversation with older men regardless of what gender is approaching the conversation is usually honestly in my opinion around food having having a meal together sitting down making it informal as informal as possible sometimes if we set up what feels like a more formal group where it’s chairs in a in a room and everyone sits down and it’s that sort of feel that can be helpful but sometimes that can be off-putting for some people so try it over a meal having the conversation of talking about experiences as a boy s of what were your experiences moving through this world as a man what did that look like that’s always a good start is to have people self-reflect because that self-reflection piece usually drs something up in someone else and sometimes you can get a lot of good group participation that way does that answer your
(Jordyn) question he said yes thank you in the chat I’ll give folks a few more seconds to ask any questions I’m gonna put actually the survey Link in the chat thank you Nicole I also see your question about if you can get a copy of this recording absolutely it usually takes us just a couple business days to get it uploaded to our YouTube channel but once it’s uploaded you will be able to access it and it should also be on our website but there’s that survey link I’ll send that via email along with the PowerPoint slides but if anyone has any other questions B I’m not sure if you can see the chat but Erica says thank you interesting presentation and important
(Burton)information to think about thank you Erica I appreciate that awesome well Burton if you’re ready to wrap it up I think we can do so thank you all so much for coming thanks everybody