OPINION: Our boys are broken


Photo credit: Tatiana Tell

Tatiana Tell

In light of recent events pertaining to gun violence, mass murders and suicide, it’s time to talk about something that’s rarely ever discussed: Why are the offenders often male?

No, I’m not bashing men. In fact, I’m doing the exact opposite.

In the FBI’s most recent release of murder statistics in the United States, 10,310 offenders were male while 1,295 were female.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Major Depressive Disorder tends to be more prevalent in women than in men. Yet, according to the America Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), men commit suicide 3.53 times more often than women.

Why are young boys and men more likely to be violent? Why are they more likely to take their own lives? The answer is in the way our society perceives masculinity.

Within the past few years, women’s empowerment has flourished. It’s much more common for a woman to be outspoken about her feelings, promote positive body image and take a stance against society’s disgustingly skewed standards. But the truth is, there’s just as many unrealistic expectations for men. We just don’t talk about them.

There’s unspoken and ongoing competition within the male society. Who’s the strongest? Who’s the toughest? Who’s going to dominate? Yes, one could say that this is just human nature and animal instinct… but it’s also natural to feel emotion.

One of the first things we teach our sons is that “real men don’t cry.” Then, we wonder why they have a difficult time communicating their emotions as they grow older. We teach them that overtly showing affection and love is a sign of weakness. We leave the impression that enjoying or taking part in anything besides sports is feminine.

A lifetime of suppressed emotion isn’t healthy for any human being. It’s obvious that years of bottled up feelings and a constant reminder to “man up” could lead to violence and the deterioration of sanity.

There needs to be a new wave in the way our society raises our boys. This wouldn’t completely solve the whole issue, but it would be a great start. We have to start promoting what it truly means to be strong and powerful. Being confident with who you are, embracing your emotions and allowing yourself to love is key.

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