Can we talk about how insane it is that men are being taught by society that showing your emotions means you’re weak and not a “real man”? Last I checked, emotions are an essential part of what makes us human. After all, robots may be programmed with intelligence but they lack sentience (being aware of your own existence), free will (the ability to freely choose to do or not do whatever you want) and, most importantly for our conversation, emotions.
Men are basically expected to be robotic when it comes to their emotions and to be purely pragmatic. Now being rational is also another key component of being human but rationality only gets you so far. Robots could also be described as being rational (although they are limited to their programming) and again I wonder why we would encourage men to be less human and more robotic? It seems to me that men are unfairly being expected to live up to some strange ideal that expects less of them. Now, we as women are also expected to live up to a strange ideal that expects less of us but the expectations are basically opposite.
Emotions are generally equated with weakness and unfortunately women are treated as the “weaker of the sexes” because of this. I know that being a woman makes me a little biased here, but come on, women are forced to be strong in ways that men can never understand personally. Pregnancy and childbirth is an incredible mental, emotional and physical feat of strength and fortitude over a long period of time. Even if you never get pregnant, as a woman you are still forced to deal with the physical and emotional strains that our menstrual cycles put us through. And even if your cycles are not that intrusive, you still have to deal with being objectifying based on what you look like.
Thankfully we are slowly changing these outdated ideals of masculinity and femininity but we still have a long way to go. We need more examples of healthy masculinity to continue moving forward. A great example of this is Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings who is a fully developed human being who not only becomes a great leader but who doesn’t shy away from expressing a full range of emotions.
Cinema Therapy is an incredible YouTube channel that I subscribe to that released a video going into this very topic and I encourage you to watch it. They show clips from the movie and talk about how Aragorn is the perfect example of non-toxic masculinity. Enjoy!