Genesis The Podcast
Season 3, Episode 6
The 21st century brings a unique set of challenges when it comes to raising boys. In a world that grapples with toxic masculinity, the task of guiding sons through this societal terrain becomes increasingly complex. In our recent podcast episode Jordyn Lawson and Maria MacMullin, two boy moms, delve into these issues and seek solutions.
The term toxic masculinity has been increasingly discussed in recent years, yet its implications are still not fully understood by many. It refers to harmful societal expectations and stereotypes that dictate what it means to be a ‘real man’— often emphasizing dominance, aggression, and emotional suppression. Such notions not only impact boys’ self-perception but also significantly shape their personal relationships and interactions.
Sports, an integral part of many boys’ lives, is a particular area where toxic masculinity often manifests. The culture of sports tends to promote a win-at-all-costs mentality, potentially leading to aggressive behaviors and a distorted perception of masculinity. As parents, it’s essential to emphasize that being competitive doesn’t equate to being domineering or disrespectful. The focus should be on effort, sportsmanship and the joy of participation, rather than merely winning or dominating.
How can we counter toxic masculinity effectively? The answer lies in education. A well-rounded education that goes beyond academics to address social and emotional learning can be instrumental in challenging stereotypes and broadening boys’ understanding of manhood. It’s crucial to provide safe spaces for boys to explore their identities without the constraints of toxic societal norms.
Another critical aspect of countering toxic masculinity is emotional regulation. Often, societal pressures force boys to suppress their feelings, promoting a culture of emotional illiteracy. As parents, we must debunk this myth and foster emotional intelligence in our sons. Teaching them to understand, express, and manage their emotions healthily is a vital step towards dismantling harmful gender ideologies.
The conversation about toxic masculinity also led us to explore toxic femininity – a term referring to rigid gender roles and expectations that women are conditioned to adhere to, often associated with passive and submissive behavior. Just as we strive to redefine masculinity, it’s equally important to challenge and redefine femininity, ensuring both boys and girls grow up with a balanced understanding of gender roles.
The task of raising boys in today’s society might be challenging, but it’s not insurmountable. Through open dialogues, empathy, and education, we can guide our sons to grow into individuals who respect and value themselves and others, irrespective of traditional gender norms. It’s a collective effort, but one that promises a healthier, more equitable society for future generations.
As we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities of raising boys in the 21st century, let’s keep the conversation going. After all, it’s through these shared experiences and insights that we can collectively shape a better, more inclusive understanding of masculinity and develop a more equitable life experience for all.
To listen to this episode of Genesis the Podcast, click here.