Our society is riddled with men behaving badly. Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and misogyny run rampant through politics, Hollywood, professional and amateur sports, college campuses, and our daily work environment. The societal standards dictating that men be strong, unemotional, aggressive, and dominant over women have created toxic masculinity. These social standards have an influence on the development of our sons, and if we leave it up to someone else to teach them about masculinity, we greatly increase the potential for their growing up to be chauvinistic, misogynistic, bigoted men who believe they are none of those things.
Voices throughout the country have been shouting the demand for change. Many of these voices call on women to alter their attitudes and behavior, implying that a man's misogynistic behavior is women's fault. Dissolving toxic masculinity cannot and must not come from calling upon girls and women to change. We heed the call for change by raising our boys to be emotionally healthy masculine men, a process that begins at home. Change happens when parents embody and model what they want to see in their children.
The 9 lessons presented in Dissolving Toxic Masculinity by psychotherapist and family therapist Thomas Haller, LMSW, DST are designed to help us raise boys who embrace an attitude of compassion, empathy, kindness, and respect for women. It's time we rise to the challenge.