I am not a boy. I love being a girl and think us ladies are so badass and powerful and beautiful and amazing. So, before you click out of this because “how can you talk about masculinity if you are not a male,” I want you to understand that modern expectations of what defines a man as masculine affects all levels of society, regardless of gender.

While I do find it true that as society begins to understand what wrong turns were taken regarding our perception of gender and the stereotypes controlling it, it is important that we still lay the foundation for this newer idea. Currently, gender is essentially what society sees appropriate for males and females to pursuit. Society has its own ideas of what being a man truly looks like. And because of that, we are all misconstrued by our own predisposed ideas of what masculinity is.

I believe that so much of the media focuses on discrimination towards females, and I know that is something that we are direly in need of. In so many cultures, addressing sexism focused on girls is so prominent; and yes, that is good, there is no doubt that we need that. However, I believe we do not shine enough light on how boys of all ages are also affected by our overwhelming ideas of what males should not only look like, but act like. Ultimately, gender constraints and expectations are not only destroying girls, but destroying boys as well.

My hope is for us to begin to address these repressing expectations of men as well. Because truly, if we address that, we begin to address the restricting rules of gender as a whole. We begin to address the wrong turns we took regarding respect between a male and a female. We begin to address men’s perception of women. We begin to address the burdens that modern expectations have. Drawing attention to the systematic impact of falsified masculinity cures so much more than the fragile ego of a man.

Boys, please know that it is okay to cry, because what you feel is valid and is not worthy of being suppressed. Please know that you do not have to have a six-pack in order to be masculine. Please wear pink, and any other color you want to wear, whether it be all of them at once or only one at a time. Please cry if you want to. Please know that the world’s reality does not have to be your own.

Love, Valerie x

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