Boys in our society are raised with a stereotype about how men are supposed to act. This stereotype creates a great deal of problems for boys and men and society in general. However in order to correct this stereotype we must first understand it. This is what this documentary does it explains the stereotype and how boys are taught to follow it or if not run the risk of being called gay or other names.
The organization Alive & Free is showing this documentary at San Francisco State University. If you long onto their website you can find out how to get tickets. Anyone with a son should see this documentary. I have included a link to the trailer which will help you better understand what you will see in this documentary.
The Mask You Live in – trailer
After watching the trailer above you should have an idea of the stereotype society has about men and how this stereotype hurts boys and men. Stop and think for a moment, how many school shootings have been done by adolescent boys? How many by girls? You probably cannot recall one by a girl but you can recall many by adolescent boys. This stereotype starts very early in life. When a baby boy is born everyone talks about how big and strong he will be and how all the girls will like him. In Kindergarden if a boy falls down, the boy is told take it like a man, don’t cry. The message the little boy receives is boys are not supposed to have emotions. When people first meet a little boy they ask him, what do you want to be when you grow up? A boy could never where pink to school and they need to be good at sports. As men, people want to know what you do for a living, what kind of car you drive and what sports you watch. It is acceptable if a man gets angry and it is acceptable for men to be interested in sex. In fact, men are supposed to know everything about sex and they never need help. This stereotype is unrealistic. Many teens and men try to live up to the stereotype however, it is always too tough and as a result teenage boys and men act out sexually or have anger problems. You see anger groups for men and teenage boys but not many for women. Women and girls are allowed to have and express their feelings therefore they don’t have the same problems as men or teenage boys. Many of the teenage boys I see in session talk about how lonely they feel and how inferior they feel to other teenage boys. They assume the other guys have no problems and have everything figured out. However, since guys are not allowed to talk about their feelings no one knows. As a result of this stereotype, boys are always trying to compete with each other. So instead of helping each other through these difficult times, they attack each other. In middle school and high school there are always those boys who are teased because they don’t completely meet the stereotype. As a result boys stuff and repress many of their emotions which results in numerous emotional problems for teenagers and most teenagers feeling like they are inferior to the other guys.
The trailer at the beginning of the blog is a step in starting to shine a light on what boys deal with on a daily basis. Dr. Marshall, who founded Alive and Free, is trying to prevent boys from having to grow up with this stereotype. I have worked with Dr. Marshall and the work is hard because many people don’t think it is a big problem. Especially in the Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Lafayette area. People assume this only occurs in the poor areas of San Francisco. If you want to help your son, learn more about this problem. watch the trailer, watch the documentary and tell your sons it is okay for boys to cry. Fathers show your feelings to your sons. Hug them, tell them you love them and cry if you need to. Become familar with programs such as Alive and Free or Challenge Day. Also do not be afraid to bring your sons in for therapy. Most importantly do whatever you can to teach your sons that the common stereotype about how men are supposed to act is false. Teach your sons it is okay for boys to cry and wear pink.
Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in treating teenagers. To learn more about his practice or to contact him log onto his web site http://www.rcs-ca.com