Masculinity Challenged// Kyle Thomas

It was a cold Saturday night, the wind was blowing so hard you can hear it. It was December 30, 2017, and I was coming home from dance practice. I was in the car with my mom, dad, and one of my sisters. The car was so quiet, I decided to put my headphones in and listen to some music.

When I was jamming to my music, I notice that my mom had tears coming down her face. I quickly paused my music and asked, “Mom, why are you crying?”  

My dad said, “Wait until we get in the house.” When we got in the house, my mom sat on the couch and told me and my sister to “come here.” This is when my whole life had changed forever. My dad said: “Pop-Pop Kenny had died.” My heart stopped and I fell into my mom's arms and said: “Why it had to be him?”  Then I went upstairs and just sat in complete silence.

The following day was   I had to come to school and put on a mask to show that I wasn’t hurting or depressed. But that didn’t work because people kept asking if I was ok and I would respond, “Yes,” and kept on moving.

Because I was raised to be a man, I was taught to hide my emotions cause it shows weakness. I knew that this was tough for me cause when someone who you love dies then your emotions are raised really high. But my dad only said don’t show your emotions in public when your alone cause people will start to make fun of you.

Lenard Sax wrote in his New York Times article titled Many Boys Today Define Masculinity Negatively challenges us to think about how gender and masculinity affect our identity and how we express our emotions: “Being a real man means doing things that girls don’t do.” This quote is significant because it highlights the way that boys are being raised and raises questions if parents should change the way they raise their kids? I can relate to this quote because I have personal experiences on the way my parents have raised me. My dad specifically wouldn’t let me do anything a girl does and he always made sure that I only do what boys normally do.

Another idea related to boys and the idea of Masculinity is raised by Tim King. He wrote a New York Times article titled  Encourage Boys to Embrace Individuality, So They Can Respect It in Others and it is challenging the idea of how parent raised their kids: “When we mold our sons in the image of unrealistically rugged masculinity, they are encouraged to view girls through the lens of some idealized version of femininity.” This quote is significant because it highlights the reason why boys think and do things a certain way.  Also, it makes a realization of why the parents raise their children like this. Like for example when was growing up my parents always told me to respect everyone. And they said when you look at/talk female just know to be cautious of what you say because they will show you their emotions. So my parents taught me to respect all genders equally.

These ideals our young men short-sighted ad lost. What I mean by that is that we can't keep making boys think one-sided. As a society, we need to make sure that young men and children can accept who they are and what that means is that they don’t have to think of life as one thing when there are many aspects of life.  Masculinity isn’t formulated. You can mold and shape your kids the way you want to, but if you want them to become a better ma let them define what Masculinity for themselves.