New research into detoxifying masculinity is underway at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education and it’s the first of its kind in North America.
Lead researcher Dr. Michael Kehler looks into pressures associated with masculinity and how they relate to self esteem, violence and emotions.
He says, pressure put on boys and young men need to change to improve skewed views of what it means to be a man, like over-aggression and holding in emotions.
“Think about different ways of being boys as being legitimate, that boys don’t need to be aggressive, that boys don’t all need to look the same in terms of developing that ripped, lean body that is so highly valorized in our culture.”
Toxic definitions of what is means to be masculine has the potential to lead to violence behaviour later in life, but Kehler says it can also lead to deep rooted self-esteem issues.
“I’ve had men say to me ‘I am no longer physically active or healthy because of what happened when I was a young boy going to school and I got picked on because I didn’t like playing football and I was fearful and ashamed of my body.'”
Kehler says for things to change, we need to talk and now is the perfect time.
“#MeToo and TimesUp really is a turning point in which men and women can engage in a public, open dialog that allows a respectful appreciation and conversation about resetting gender relations.”