WATCH: How We as a Society Are Failing Our Boys

The three most destructive words every boy hears are, ‘be a man.’

“Man-up!” “Stop crying!” “Pick yourself up!” Don’t be a pussy!” “Stop with the emotion!” “Don’t let anyone disrespect you.” "Bros before hoes.” “Get laid!” “Don’t let a woman run your life.” “Grow some balls!” “Man-Up!”

These expressions are amongst the most damaging phrases we say to our young boys on a daily basis, according to a new hard-hitting documentary exploring American masculinity in society, Upworthy reported.

“The Mask You Live In” by The Representation Project explains how the way we have constructed the idea of masculinity in the United States doesn’t give young boys a way to feel secure in their masculinity, so instead, they are forced to go out and prove it.

Consequently, as young boys enter into adulthood, they end up missing out on what they actually want: closeness.

“From middle school I had four really close friends. Once I kinda went into high school I struggled finding people to talk to because I feel like I’m not supposed to get help”, one young boy said.

Youth advocates explain how young boys are forced to wear a mask for how they think they are supposed to act on a daily basis but many don’t know how or when to take that mask off, so almost 90% are suffering within from pain and anger.

Dr. Niobe Way, psychologist and educator said that young boys really buy into a culture that doesn't value what we’ve ‘feminized’.

“If we’re in a culture that doesn’t value caring, doesn’t value relationships, doesn’t value empathy, you are going to have boys and girls, men and women go crazy,” she said.

In the United States alone, more than three boys commit suicide every day.  Boys are more likely to act out and become aggressive, yet most people will not see that as a sign of depression; they're more likely to see it as a conduct disorder.

“Whether it’s homicidal violence or suicidal violence, people resort to such desperate behavior only when they feel ashamed and humiliated or feel they would be if they didn't prove that they were real men,” she says in the doco.

As one wide-eyed young boy innocently says in the trailer, “if you never cry, then you have all these feelings stuffed up inside of you and then you can’t get them out."

Check out the preview:

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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