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Named a “silent epidemic,” suicide is anywhere, and it’s from three to seven and a half times more likely to affect men than women, according to British Columbia Medical Journal. Though this could be due to varying factors, one unifying factor seems to affect almost every male or male-presenting human: toxic masculinity.

Feminism has come extremely far in the way it encourages young girls to follow their dreams, pursue a career, enjoy a healthy sex life, and date whoever they want. But what about the young boys? While being dubbed a tomboy as a little girl is a compliment, a boy wearing a dress is still considered taboo. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten that we still need to be looking out for boys, and encouraging feminine qualities in them. This condemnation of overly feminine qualities undoubtedly bleeds into adult life. “To carve out a masculine identity requires whittling away everything that falls outside the norms of boyhood. At the earliest ages, it’s about external signifiers like favorite colors, TV shows, and clothes. But later, the paring knife cuts away intimate friendships, emotional range, and open communication,” The Atlantic says.

The public outrage that came when Ian Hoffman and his wife Sarah coauthored the book Jacob’s New Dress is further proof of this toxic masculinity. The book was banned in North Carolina. “Would it be nice to have a book with a boy in a dress with no conflict? Yes. Are we there? I don’t think so,” Hoffman tells The Atlantic.

All around the country, little boys are told to man up. They are ridiculed for crying. They are outcasted for the decision to wear a dress. This is not only detrimental to a boy’s emotional well-being, but a girl’s as well. “When school officials and parents send a message to children that ‘boyish’ girls are badass but ‘girlish’ boys are embarrassing, they are telling kids that society values and rewards masculinity, but not femininity. They are not just keeping individual boys from free self-expression, but they are keeping women down too.”

For the full story, head over to The Atlantic.

Photo: Adrià Crehuet Cano via Unsplash

 

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