With so much happening with the #MeToo movement, it can be difficult to know what to do as a man. Many men at UM want to do something. Something that will help survivors. Something that will change culture.
"Be a man" and "man up" are common phrases that are used in American culture and here at UM. For many men, these phrases imply that to qualify as a man, he must be tough, brave, knowledgeable, and show little to no emotion or pain. This places not only tremendous pressure on men to live up to those standards but also negates the unique qualities that make an individual his own kind of man.
Masculinity is not a one size fits all. Rather it is defined by each individual and what they feel makes them a man. Therefore, masculinity is distinctive to the individual, looking different based on experiences, feelings, and culture.
When it comes to men and mental health, men:
To dive deeper into different topics about masculinity, click the links below
Women are not the only individuals who struggle with body image. Struggling with body image is a human experience that many men go through. Just like all individuals, men are constantly surrounded by images of athletes, celebrities, and media that define what the “perfect” male body is. Due to these pressures and images, some men struggle with dieting, overeating, eating disorders, and steroid use.
Depression is a serious but highly treatable medical condition that can strike anyone regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender. However, depression often goes unrecognized by those who have it, by their families and friends, and even by their physicians. Men, in particular, may be unlikely to acknowledge they have depressive symptoms and seek support. However, depression is common in men and is not a sign of personal weakness or a flaw in character.
Vulnerability is what connects us to other human beings. It is when we “expose” something about ourselves whether that be experiences, emotions, feelings, and/or behaviors to another person in order to form a connection and learn about each other. Since childhood, many men are taught vulnerability equals weakness and therefore men are not supposed to be vulnerable. It can also be difficult to be vulnerable as there might be a fear of feeling embarrassed or being hurt by someone’s response.
Some men struggle talking with others, especially other men, about their feelings, experiences, and struggles. There can be fear or hesitation that opening up, especially to another man will expose one’s failure because they were not able to hold it together and “man up.” Others may relate sharing their feelings and “being emotional” as something only women do and therefore do not talk. However, sharing one’s struggles is not specific to those who identify as female but rather it is a human quality.