Have you heard the term positive masculinity? Do you know what it is and what it implies?
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of positive masculinity or negative/toxic masculinity before, as they are new terms that refer to the traditional masculine stereotypes that people have long struggled with in the past and continue to struggle with today.
Positive masculinity isn’t a new concept but is gaining popularity today. The term positive masculinity suggests the potential for men to settle a new type of masculinity adopting new masculine practices in opposition to what has been presented as negative and toxic masculinity.
- What Is Positive Masculinity?
- Examples Of Positive Masculinity
- Showing Emotion And Expressing Your Feelings
- Supporting Women
- Taking Care of Yourself
- Having Empathy for Others
- Being Honest With Yourself And Others About What You Are Good At And What You Need Help With
- Treating Everyone With Respect, Regardless Of Their Background
- Don’t Use Your Power To Impose On Others
- Challenging Conventional Wisdom To Make Positive Change In Society – Especially Where Gender Roles Are Concerned
- How Can You Encourage Positive Masculinity?
- What is True Masculinity?
- What Makes Man a Man?
- As a Conclusion
What Is Positive Masculinity?
Currently is questioned the presence of a universal man, even so acting as a man varies according to the historical, social, cultural context, among others. Masculinity is a set of characteristics that society imposes on men.
The concept of masculinity and what it means to be a man is often seen as negative. Men are told they must be stoic, protective, and powerful. We see men being physically aggressive, mentally unemotional, and continuously striving for external validation of their self-worth.
But it is time for a new image of men, there is a need for a new definition of masculinity.
The term positive masculinity stems from all these characteristics and implies that to solve negative conceptions of masculinity, we must redefine what it means to be a man through behavior, words, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
Of course, there are different ways of defining positive masculinity. Some describe it as respect for all genders; others simply state that we should look for more constructive definitions for what masculinity really is.
Positive masculinity aims to redefine what it means to be masculine. To do so, it encourages men to engage in non-violent, non-sexist, or homophobic behaviors and focuses on qualities such as empathy, nurturing social responsibility, and self-control promoting a broader, diversified, dynamic plural, and open experience of masculinity. This translates into the exercise of more respectful, equitable, and egalitarian practices in all social spheres.
It’s time to recognize and value soft skills in workplaces, schools, and homes – nurturing qualities like empathy, compassion, and kindness. It’s time to redefine masculinity by not just what men can do but who they are as human beings. This doesn’t mean making women more masculine or feminizing men; rather, it means building confidence in all genders around their unique strengths.
Examples Of Positive Masculinity
As a society, we put a lot of pressure on men to be in certain ways. Both boys and men are challenged constantly for behaviors that don’t comply with what is the general definition of a real man or manhood. For example, if they cry, it means they are weak. This is one of many examples of how society expects men to behave in one specific way.
So, what does positive masculinity look like, exactly? It looks like a guy who cries without fear of ridicule from his peers; someone who respects himself and also respects women for who they are and not what society says about them; someone who helps other people in their lives because helping others makes them feel good about themselves.
Positive masculinity it’s about more than just doing what women say, it’s about setting boundaries and standing up for yourself when needed.
It’s about expressing your feelings without letting them dominate your behavior; being in touch with your emotions without being controlled by them. In short, it’s a way of taking control of your own gender identity, being true to who you are while interacting with others in a way that they respect—and appreciate—you for who you are.
These might seem like bold statements; however, did we mention that positive masculinity is all about bridging gender roles? Being male doesn’t automatically mean that one must be “macho” or aggressive or strong—or that one must reject traditionally feminine qualities like tenderness or compassion or empathy.
How can you encourage positive masculinity in your life and help others get on board with it too? Follow these examples for living with positive masculinity, in contraposition of the established definitions and the “real men” stereotypes:
Showing Emotion And Expressing Your Feelings
It is okay to cry, it is okay to get hurt, and men are allowed to feel, to be soft, and to nurture. If you don’t show your emotions, how do others know how you feel, or that you care about them at all? Talking about your feelings, and acknowledging your feelings is an important part of being a man. Getting them out in a healthy way will help you feel better about yourself and improve your relationships with others.
When it comes to supporting women, it can sometimes be difficult for men to strike a balance between being masculine and empathetic. To promote healthy relationships between all genders, listen to what they have to say, respect their opinions, give them the space they require to grow and flourish and allow them to feel secure and respected.
Taking Care of Yourself
When you focus on being healthy and taking care of yourself, your positivity affects those around you. It’s important for your own well-being to make sure you take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and eating well.
Having Empathy for Others
Empathy helps balance out our overly aggressive personalities by allowing us to see things from another person’s perspective. If we can see situations through someone else’s eyes, then we can understand their experiences and help them when needed. Allowing empathy into your life doesn’t mean you are weak or unable to make decisions; it simply means that you have a new way of thinking about how others feel.
Seeing things through their eyes will allow for more constructive communication between everyone involved. Whether dealing with friends, family members, or colleagues, choosing empathy will lead to better relationships, not just with them but also within yourself too.
Being Honest With Yourself And Others About What You Are Good At And What You Need Help With
Ask for help when needed, show vulnerability, and help whenever you can. Use your capabilities and strengths to help others, your family, your community, and other men.
Treating Everyone With Respect, Regardless Of Their Background
Develop healthy relationship skills, active listening, communication, nonjudgmental support, ask for and give consent. Taking care of others and contributing to building a more respectful culture for all genders when all identity expressions are allowed and respected.
Don’t Use Your Power To Impose On Others
Men have been structured to give orders and to command. When other parts of the society are in power, the situation to the traditional manhood conception makes men question many things, and it is important to realize that if things are going to change, men must change themselves and accept the challenges of a new society and new paradigms of the society.
Challenging Conventional Wisdom To Make Positive Change In Society – Especially Where Gender Roles Are Concerned
Social changes have led seek to reconcile family life and work life, having as antecedent the fact that in high percentage household activities and care and upbringing of sons and daughters falls exclusively in women. However, with the emergence of new paradigms, it is essential that men also get involved, commit, and participate in these tasks.
This participation will have to be supported by state actions and social, legislative changes and new public policies, among others, paternity leave and different business and institutional practices, in order to help workers to have better conditions to harmonize family and work environments.
Other examples that promote actively the qualities of a man with positive masculinity are:
- A man who enjoys his work and home equally.
- A man who shares housework and childcare.
- A man who does not consider heterosexuality the only standard to define virility.
- A man who does not promote a sexist or homophobic education.
- A man who opposes to any shape or form of sexism.
- A man who is seeking out opportunities to learn new things that interest him.
- A man being open to change his mind when it’s appropriate to do so.
- A man who expresses himself through music, writing or art.
💡 And always keeping these principles in mind: Honesty, Compassion, Perseverance, and Respect.
How Can You Encourage Positive Masculinity?
Modern society has undoubtedly brought a series of changes in all social, family, cultural, labor, and political spheres. The women’s liberation movements, their incursion into the workforce, single-parent families, globalization, mass media, and the immediate access to all kinds of information, have affected the man-woman relationship, the socialization of the child, and above all, the traditional role of the manhood.
In other words, we need positive masculinity. Positive masculinity could change society, and you as a member of the society can play your part in bringing down harmful gender stereotypes.
Negative ideas about what it means to be a man are imposed on young men from a very early age. These preconceived notions, or social roles, can have negative consequences for both women and men. We need to put an end to these damaging expectations and change how we define what it means to be a man.
As a man, it is important to recognize that you play an active role in creating your own world. Your masculine energies are strong; they need to be in control and take charge.
Although there is no ideal model of man since life experiences make them different, the current challenge is to dismantle power relations, privilege, sexism, homophobia and thus achieve the construction of democratic, egalitarian, equitable relations, respectful of differences, more pleasant and harmonious with those around us.
In short, including in our lives the principle of equality of all beings’ rights and respect for fundamental rights in all institutions and spheres.
What is True Masculinity?
What is true masculinity is a question that is often asked due to the many misconceptions surrounding what it means to be a man.
Masculinity is often described to certain physical characteristics (muscular built, deep voices, etc.) and certain behavioral patterns (assertiveness, aggression, courage). However, these are simply, the social construct that has been created for men. Below, we will truly answer the question “What is true masculinity?”
True Masculinity Defined
- A true man is dependable – He embraces his responsibility to his family and those to whom he has a duty of care.
- A true man lives with integrity– He is honest and stands for what is right even when it is the unpopular choice.
- A true man is a protector– He prioritizes the safety and well-being of his family and loved ones.
- A true man lives authentically– He knows his strengths and his weaknesses. He is committed to his growth process.
So, as you can see the question “What is true masculinity?” is more complex than big muscles and a macho attitude. It is about embracing your true purpose and striving to be the best man you can be.
What Makes Man a Man?
Being a man is generally subjected to the masculine nature that one gives off. This however does not answer the question, what makes a man a man? The nature of man ideally comes from his gender. That is largely what makes a man.
Society has added to this perception making a man this dominant, powerful, as well as good at suppressing feelings individually. These ideals that make a man are nonetheless said to be toxic sometimes. What makes a man a man is his ability to provide for those under his care, to protect them, and above all love them unconditionally.
These are a set of expectations that a man must meet even when their partner has the ability to do the same on their own. The ideals of masculinity make man the central figure upon which the pendulum of families revolves. As such, what makes a man is the ability to have a strong masculine frame that others can find support from.
As a Conclusion
The Need for a New Definition of Masculinity
The first thing that comes to mind might seem obvious, it is not enough to realize that models of hegemonic or patriarchal masculinity generate inequality and suffering, it is also important that there is a long-term environment that is conducive to reinforcing the need for change. Masculinity is learned built and therefore, it can also be changed.
In the family sphere, the expectations of parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, and other older men close to the family are highly influential in the formation of a man’s identity. From childhood, some attitudes are established for men, some values, norms, and behaviors, equal to those they inherited from their own parents and grandparents.
But men have also seen that from formal education, religion, military institutions, advertising, media, and even from the women playing an important role in their training and upbringing as men.
We grew up in a highly male chauvinist system in which sex differences are the basis for dictating our gender role. We are all products of this society in which we live and we assume the models of being a man and being a woman that is imposed on us. The scheme of being a man and of being a woman has been engraved for long in the collective mentality of society.
Well-defined cultural patterns are constantly reinforced and perpetuated by family, education, religion, among others, and accepted by the vast majority of men and women. Without further criticism and no questioning are justified by the physical differences that exist between the two sexes and have been taken as an advantage for most of the men according to their own interests.
In this panorama, positive masculinity comes as a new definition of masculinity, that is not about how to be a man or how to be more masculine, it’s about supporting and empowering women as well as taking care of yourself and encouraging living with positive masculinity actions and attitudes every day.
Unpacking the idea of positive masculinity can be difficult because the word masculinity itself has so many negative connotations, but in reality, there are plenty of ways to show your masculinity while still being supportive of women, other men, and all genders, taking care of yourself, and acknowledging your feelings.