In a previous blog ‘What Kind of Man do you Want for your Child‘ I mentioned Tony Porter and used the diagram he used on his talk on TED to illustrate the restricted behaviours we can put onto our young men. Since I have started sharing YouTube and TED talks that I like, I thought this one should definitely be on here…..
It came back into my consciousness when I attended the Domestic Abuse Conference in Hull yesterday and was listening to a great presentation by Hull’s Youth Offending Team; they spoke of The Man Box in the context of how the young men they work with, develop their identities as young males. One thing that stood out for me form the talk was the notion of fighting, that if a young man hits a woman and she hit him back, it was then categorised by many, as a fight; and they had to win – ‘do not show weakness or fear‘, ‘Aggression-Dominance‘.
To break free from The Man Box means the boys around you get the permission to be impacted positively, by many more experiences than those that get the messages of ‘how a man should be’.
Recently I hear of husbands who have had ’emotional breakdowns’ and who refuse to go see their GP or see a therapist, even though they are clearly struggling, perhaps using alcohol to cope and their marriage is failing – I can’t help but think that if these men, as boys, were encouraged to speak about their experiences, be aware of their emotions and seek and accept help, their predicament would be much different.
What do you think to Tony Porter’s talk?