If you ask me, in our “modern” society, men are not loved enough; they’re mostly feared, whether it is in their households, relationships, places of work, public positions of power, and to a large extent, this has kept in place a longstanding imbalance because men’s emotional needs are very easily disregarded, plus they are expected to fend for themselves and brave the storms of life never needing to depend on anyone else for any support whatsoever, thus our society has blatantly shunned their vulnerability under as disguise of keeping up with the conservative “Alpha male” ideology. 

The emotional and mental health issues men experience are by far a product of childhood experiences of love and family that were stolen from them by abusive, angry, reckless, or absent parents, faithless partners, remorseless bullies and now here we are with generations of men to whom generations of unhealed trauma have been passed on to; and as if that wasn’t enough, they have also been born into a society that pressures them to be “real men” and the dire consequences of this have rendered many men to feel unsafe and not at home in this world to an extent that they struggle in silence, and some even lose their lives all without one word to any living soul about what they are going through. Men too experience physical and emotional abuse, sexual harrassment, depression and anxiety disorders, suicide ideation and so forth but because of the stigma surrounding these issues that is tied to the detrimantal and yet deep running ideas on masculinity, majority of them don’t opt to seek help.

By society’s standards, "real men" don’t struggle; not with “trivial” things like emotions, not to mention, they don’t cry -- “vulnerable”,”soft”,”emotional” these aren’t by any chance words appropriate to describe a “real man”, “the lesser the emotion, the more manly you are”, “the more iron fisted you are, the more liable you are to be a “king”,“want your partner to respect you? Raise your hand, show her who the man is!” “want your kids to listen to you? You’re the man of the house, give them a good beating to learn from!”  That is how, according to our society, one is expected to display manliness, and without a doubt, this approach to masculinity has resulted in the nurturing of more “men of steel” than actual men. 

The longer we hold on to these problematic opinions of masculinity, clinging to the false perception of what makes a man a man, the more time it’ll take to undo the damage, the harder it will be for these young boys and men to rewind to start over with a refreshed image of who they really are, the more challenging it will be for them to unlearn and relearn that displaying vulnerability, needing and seeking help, opening up about their struggles are all part and parcel of their humanity, and not a sign that they’ve given into to some version of weakness or cowardice. 

We needn’t wait because now is a perfect time to tell boys and men that they’re heard, they’re seen, they matter at all times; remind them that they are still men when they cry, they’re still men even when they’re overwhelmed and need a hand, they’re not weak for needing assistance to heal from bad experiences; they are loved so dearly, and their tenderness is not a flaw but rather a gift that came along with the package of their masculinity. 

All things considered, a world where someone would rather die than speak up because they risk being put through the shame and guilt for sharing their emotional and mental health struggles, and being labelled a “weak man” is not any safer for anyone to exist than a dungeon of hungry beasts; luckily, it’s our world, we have the power to redefine our society and instill lessons learnt from past mistakes to mold a better world for the generations that’ll come after us. Let’s make the world a safe place for boys and men to embrace all aspects of their humanity!