Over the past decades, we have done a great job in raising young girls with positive messages about women empowerment. While that is great and we need to continue our efforts to raise strong and independent women, there is a large group that we (as a society) have left behind.
There is a great article/episode that my friend Marie West (the absolute best Kindergarten teacher your child could have) sent me a while back. This particular episode of “Hidden Brain” talks about how American masculinity is creating lonely men.
Here is a link to the page if you like to read the full article:
For a moment think of all the support systems and resources available to women empowerment Traditionally, men have been raised (most likely by a woman) to hide their emotions and be tough. As a society, we have not done a good job in helping boys identify feelings and learn to manage and process them. It is more common (and acceptable) for girls to express feeling and start a sentence by “I feel”. Additionally, making fun of boys/men is more acceptable than making fun of girls/women. Reports of boys/men (if they get to report it) complaining of being made fun of, usually takes less seriously than those of girls/women. Furthermore, making fun of a man’s career choice in a woman-dominated field (think nursing) has become acceptable while any attempt to make fun or question a woman’s place in a what has been known as men’s world can be a punishable crime.
In looking at the statistics of perpetrators of criminal activities, in particular, mass shooting in the past few decades, numbers show that we need to pay more attention to what the Hidden Brain refers to as the “Lonely American Men”. According to Statista (an online portal for statistics) between 1982 and 2018, 103 mass shooters were male compared to 3 initiated by female shooters. The study goes further into gender and identifies 60% of the male shooters as White.
Perhaps it is time that we join forces and begin a movement to “empower all”, boys and girls. A healthy society needs happy and healthy men and women. Much education and awareness need to begin in our homes and schools. We can’t wait for a miracle or a magic pill to fix this problem that affects all of us. This movement begins with each of us individually taking the initiative to contribute to a healthier community. It is about how we manage and process emotions. Here are some easy steps/actions each of us can take in contributing to a healthier society:
1. Model healthy behavior by acknowledging your emotions without labeling them. There is no good or bad emotion, they are just emotions and they each serve a purpose and have a duration. Feel your feelings and observe them, don’t become them. Instead of saying I am sad, disappointed, mad, try I feel sad, disappointed, mad, do you hear the difference? The first statement is a self being absorbed in the feeling and the second is a one that is observing the feeling .
2. Identify your own gender related biases. Think about your earliest experiences of understanding gender norms. Think about your male and female role models and your male and female non role models. List the qualities of each person:
1.) Male role model I admire is:
I admire him because he is:
2.) Female role model I admire is:
I admire her because she is:
3.) Male non role model for me is:
His qualities I dislike:
4.) Female non role model for me is:
Her qualities I dislike:
3. Understand that you make choices in becoming the kind of role model you want to be. Having identified the qualities that make a good/positive role model, think of how you practice those behaviors.
4. Equally important is understanding the negative traits/qualities you identified and create awareness leading to positive replacement. This needs to be practiced to become a habit that’s carried out automatically.
5. Understand that the best way you can contribute to a healthier society is by being a healthy member of the society. The goodness you display will make the environments you are part of, healthier and happier places without any spoken words.
Do you want to join millions of men and women empowering all and work toward a healthier and happier world for all of us? Be a happy and healthy individual, identify your prejudices and work through them. Seek to understand why they exist and gently process them and file them away. Rather than pressing Replay on your memory box, push Delete and free yourself of limiting beliefs that cloud your perspective of genders.
Happy Empowering All!!!
Happy Empowering All!!!
Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash