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Boys will not be boys: The toxic norms around masculinity we have to disband

Whilst some might have been forced to register words like "be a man," or "big boys don't cry," have compelled to subconsciously and unconsciously exhibit traits of superiority, bigotry, violence, suppression, predator-ship and presumptuousness.

Boys will not be boys: The toxic norms around masculinity we have to disband
three boys running on field
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
Elvis is a writer who creates content on fashion, lifestyle and culture. His main focus is inclusion, diversity, phobia and masculinity

For someone who was raised with two elder sisters, a younger brother, a loving mother, and an amazing father, I'd leave you with a very important statement - boys will not be boys. However, that statement couldn't be farther from the truth. Boys will be who we raise them to be, and my mom made sure her boys saw the truth in that.


I can recall friends passing very toxic normative statements of how boys can/should be without respect, or thoughts on the impacts these statements have on the mental health of the male child. It badly fueled our egos. We thought about the numerous things I could be excused for because we were boys growing up in the steps of other male adults. But trust a mother who never settled for the normative nuances of nature to beat down that ego as quickly as it surfaced.

A quote that resonates with me is from the Award-winning author and feminist icon, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

"By far the worst things we do to males - by making them feel they have to be hard - is that we leave them with very fragile egos."

Unlike me, not everyone is presented with such an opportunity. Whilst some might have been forced to register words like "be a man," or "big boys don't cry," have compelled to subconsciously and unconsciously exhibit traits of superiority, bigotry, violence, suppression, predator-ship and presumptuousness.

What parents or guardians fail to understand, is by subjugating boys to live a life filled with lack of emotions or empathy, they normalize a lifestyle that perpetuates hate, pariah, misogyny, assault, bullying, catcalling and hardness.

This generation of men have been raised with an idea so hurtful, it leaves nothing but pain and sheer lack of empathy. Every single action has been ruled out by an unhealthy narrative of how boys will be boys. Boys now see vulnerability as weaknesses instead of strengths.

To be honest, if we're ever going to disband the ideologies behind the practice of toxic masculinity, it'll have to be a collective effort. An effort where everyone involved is very intentional and conscious about the importance of changing the narrative and the concepts of masculinity/manhood, not just for the safety of women, but for the men, themselves.

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars

What Should We Do When the Culture Wars Invade Our Children’s Lives?

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars
Front windshield and lights of a traditional yellow school bus.
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

You know when there’s a controversy whether to include both sides to the Holocaust in a Texas school district, the culture wars have once again invaded the children’s lives. Similarly, in Southern Pennsylvania, books by people of color were banned (or per the official Central York School statement: “frozen” for an entire year.)

These discussions by the school boards are impacted by the bills passed in government, as in the case of House Bill 3979 requiring public school teachers to present various points of view when teaching about current events and social issues. Often, the impulse to clutch pearls and to “think of the children” is a rhetorical device to further political causes. As the larger climate in a racialized society such as the United States grapple with a history of slavery and the fight for racial justice--with the most current iteration being the black lives matter protests in the summer of 2020--what the children learn in schools have become a new battleground for those who land on opposing sides of this culture war.

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Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

Personally, I don’t expect the kids to always be completely truthful. Sometimes their truth bombs can be very unwelcome

Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

It's 7 am on a Wednesday.

My five-year-old bursts into our room like a whirlwind, and I blearily say good morning and remind him that he's going into school dressed in his onesie and wellies for a "wild rumpus day."

He replied, "Yes, I know. Don't forget we need to bring in sausages for the party".

Suddenly I'm wide awake and interrogating him; "What sausages? What party? What do you mean we're bringing sausages?!" I have a vague memory of going into school as a kid with sausage rolls or cheese and pineapple sticks for end-of-year parties, but I didn't think that was still a thing.

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