Me, my mom, her friend and my brother were driving in the car done winter morning. My brother was pretty upset for an unknown reason and the car ride was silent so I was just listening to music on my phone, but not loudly. We were going to get something to eat but we couldn’t choose what we wanted.
My mom’s friend was talking out loud and my brother wasn’t replying because he wanted to be left alone. He was listening to music as well.
I remember looking out of the window as we were driving, watching the small hail flakes land on my window and disappear within a few seconds. I watched as the people on the streets seemed to all be happy, while some were scurrying to get under a roof since it was hailing pretty hard.
When my mom’s friend noticed my brother wasn’t replying, she told him he had to toughen up because as a man you can’t be upset like that and show those types of emotions. That made me think a lot. It made me wonder why people thought that was okay. This helped me learn that masculinity is seen differently by certain people.
It makes me wonder where this stemmed from. This whole thing almost made me feel kind of sick, due to the thought of what boys around the world may go through due to society’s standards.
I think that the whole toxic masculinity thing needs to go away. Men shouldn’t be forced to keep their feelings in and be nonchalant, or forced to partake in gender norms due to fear of being called “gay” or getting bullied.
However, most boys my age seem to be into the nonchalant thing. It supposedly makes them more attractive if they seem “rude” so they can get girls to chase after them. Although, sometimes they are really like that due to their lack of emotional intelligence.
My mom and her friend grew up in an era where boys were supposed to act tough and strong all the time. I think that influenced her friend’s way of thinking about the way men are supposed to react to things. This toxic way of thinking often causes many boys to follow each other and stay like this for a lifetime until one person changes everything.
Most people perceive men as the providers for the family, just a provider and father. They can’t state any emotions, only the emotions that involve money are to be talked about. But since we’re growing as a society, most men are starting to throw away gender norms and do whatever they feel comfortable with.
I could see the anger on my brother’s face, as he didn’t reply to my mom’s friend because he didn’t know what to say.
I looked at my mom, and then at her friend in the rear view mirror. I was disappointed. She should know that men can’t be tough and strong all the time. At the end of the day, we’re all human and we do have feelings. Their feelings are just as valid as anybody else’s.
Since then, I’ve been slowly teaching her that it’s normal for someone to not be okay all the time, specifically men. To work against these societal standards we can teach men that it is okay to not accept gender norms.
It’s okay if you’re not the toughest or the most nonchalant. As long as you’re you.