The Apache Pow Wow

Letting Boys Feel

Noelle Natividad, Staff Writer

We have raised the men of the world

To be tough,

Courageous,

Unbreakable.

 

They are brute strength,

Sheer force,

And undeniable symbols of the capabilities of the human being.

 

In the 21st century, we have taught our women that they are equal to their male counterparts, but in the process, we have neglected to teach our boys that they are entitled to the same equality.

Women are forces to be reckoned with; they are just as strong and courageous as men. We know this because stronger women before us have pioneered a society in which girls are taught their own invincibility.

But no one has taught men that it is okay and acceptable to embrace their own emotions. This is the path to equality: not only teaching women that they can be strong, but also teaching men that they can be emotionally present. Vulnerability in men is stigmatized because for so long, they have been the strong hand of society, economics, politics—the list goes on. When they were raised, they were fed the line, “Boys don’t cry,” and this social expectation has brought great uneasiness to the male population because the truth of the matter is that everyone’s emotions are valid and acceptable to be shared regardless of gender.

I believe that this is one of the greater missed opportunities of reformers today. By teaching the male half of the American population that it is okay to feel, they will give future male leaders of the world a greater chance at emotional stability, creative freedom, and empowerment. By equating men to women in emotional range, the possibility of bringing feminism to a higher success would become limitless.

This is why allowing boys to feel is important: before women can have equal pay, equal rights, and equal treatment, men need the courage to right the wrongs of a whole society, an unbearable burden that is only comparable to the weight of women’s hardship. The world needs a revolution in the way boys think about themselves, allowing for a new age of “men” to rise. Society needs the strength of men to be applied to an evermore daunting task than proving masculinity: morphing the structure of society.

It begins with one man, choosing to give himself a chance, to value his heartbeat above the flood of his thoughts. By doing so, he will have paved the way for women to continue their valiant campaign to bridge the gap. Men and women together can bring gender equality to a head, but only if both are open to vulnerability. This is the way that gender inequality ends, and this is the way that true equality starts: with cooperation.

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Letting Boys Feel