5 Ways To Smash The “All Men Are The Same” Stereotype
You are not obligated to fit into the mold. Here’s how to smash it to pieces.
As men, we constantly fight the stigma that we lack empathy, compassion, and the ability to communicate about anything besides sports or beer.
Every day, you have the opportunity to show up in the world in a way that smashes the norm to pieces.
Here are 5 ways to do it:
Be willing to be vulnerable.
Past generations of men associated strength with being stoic and unemotional. We witness this in old TV shows and movies where husbands were reading their newspapers with cigarette-in-mouth and drinking the post-work beer while their wife felt undervalued and unappreciated.
Research shows that men who show sadness at work are thought of as less deserving of that emotion as compared to sad women.
This is neither a recipe for progress nor happiness.
Whether or not we like to admit it, men are human beings with a full range of emotional experiences that affect us in ways that we don’t often talk about.
As society evolves, the conversations around this stigma have begun to change as communities of men have opened up judgment free conversation around the challenges.
I would push this a step further into the mainstream, though. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. That is not supposed to be a cheesy line or euphemism — it is a statement of truth.
Holding back emotions and refusing to communicate do nothing but create a toxic mental and emotional environment within. If we put all of our trash in a closed room with no windows, eventually it would start to stink and become toxic.
The same goes for our thoughts and feelings. We must air them out to trusted loved ones in order to help release the pressure — this is what requires real strength.
The strength to be open and discuss the things that we are “supposed to have figured out.”
The strength to admit when we need help, or are feeling stressed, or depressed, or sad. All natural human emotions that would be weird if we didn’t experience.
I am not saying to break down in tears at every Hallmark commercial, but showing up in the world in a way that allows others to connect with us on a deeper level will help us strengthen bonds and feel more understood by the world.
Holding everything inside only leads to pent-up frustration and an inevitable explosion that could have been avoided.
Be an ally to women.
Here’s a point that will bring all of the trolls to the comment section:
In a world where so many men use their strength to oppress women, use yours to elevate them.
I once spoke at an event in New York City for female entrepreneurs. It was an open and accepting community of 150 women and…4 men.
3 other men joined me on stage as we openly answered questions about raising sons, emotionally connecting in relationships, the fight for equality, and how we can balance each other’s strengths and energies to create harmony.
More men need to stand with women as they continue their social ascent. We need to recognize their strengths and abilities as leaders, entrepreneurs, mothers, sisters, wives, political figures, and most of all — HUMANS.
Once we stop being afraid of being unseated by someone, we can start learning from them.
The neurological and biological differences between men and women should not divide us, but unite us as we come together and share our strengths with each other.
A woman standing up and being “strong” does not want to overpower your masculinity. She wants her feminine strength to match your masculine strength so you can create harmony together.
As the old saying goes, “Men of quality are not afraid of equality.”
The world is a fascinating place. Art, history, philosophy, cultural diversity…there is so much beyond our immediate surroundings.
Men fight a stereotype of being one-dimensional. As someone who literally never watches sports, I find myself on the outside of “traditional” conversations in groups of dudes.
But when I connect with guys who have similar and more diverse interests, the conversations are always far deeper and more meaningful than just about last night’s game.
Listen — I’m not judging here. We all have the freedom to choose our own interests, but I believe that a variety of interests leads to a much richer and more meaningful life than allowing ourselves to be pigeonholed by societal pressures or expectations that don’t allow us to fully explore what lights us on fire because someone may judge or ridicule us.
Plus — when you’re more educated on a plethora of topics, it opens up new personal and professional opportunities as you empower yourself to connect with a wider variety of people from all walks of life.
Actually care about your significant other.
I’ve pissed off thousands of men over my years of writing because of how my articles seem to criticize them (sort of like this one), but let me tell you — all of them have been prompted by a story I’ve been told, something I’ve witnessed myself, or a personal experience.
This point is in here because of the countless stories I’ve heard about actions of men in relationships that I just cannot wrap my head around.
It’s almost as if guys completely stop putting effort into a relationship once they get into it.
Guys: That’s not when the effort ends. That’s when the effort begins.
Any woman who values herself will walk away from a man who simply stops trying. You don’t just work to “get” her, you also must work to “keep” her.
This means keeping the romance alive, helping around the house, planning regular date nights, expressing your feelings to her in a way that aligns best with your love languages.
Hell, it means knowing what your love languages are in the first place.
Relationships are not a part time commitment. You’re either in, or you’re out. So many relationships fail these days because we insist as continuing to live as “me” instead of “we.”
You’re part of a team — and no team can thrive if one of the teammates isn’t bringing their A-Game to the table.
Out of all the men who pursued her, she chose you. Act like you’re grateful for it.
Hold other men accountable.
HERE WE GO.
But no, seriously, this is a big one.
Why is it that so many of these stereotypes persist? Why is it that “locker room talk” remains rampant when so many men are secretly made uncomfortable by the jokes being made?
Why do so many guys who love their wives and daughters and mothers and sisters still participate in demeaning conversations about women and feminize men as a way to insult them?
For the ones who are actually opposed to it (and not secretly in agreement), it’s because they’re afraid of speaking up.
“What if I lose my man-card?”
I’d suggest it’s better to lose your “man-card” than your dignity by lowering yourself to this level of discourse.
The ultimate show of strength and moral standing is to speak up when other men cross the line.
This battle must be fought from the inside.
We must begin doing what’s right instead of what’s comfortable.
We must stop sacrificing our integrity for the sake of social acceptance.
We must be willing to have the hard conversations with our peers and ask why they feel the way they do — we may even discover they’re just trying to be funny or get accepted by their peers as well.
But, we will never crack open the egg of this dialogue if we continue allowing it to boil.
Someone has to stand up and break the mold.
Here’s my challenge to you: Choose just one of the points here and work on it each day. Take a real honest inventory about where you can improve in your life and then set yourself on a path to making it happen.
The character you choose for yourself dictates not only how the world receives you, but how you perceive yourself along the journey.
If you want to feel good about yourself when you’re by yourself, stop following the crowd and begin living as the man that you choose to be.
Nothing is more manly than that.
James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach. Having spent over a decade in unhappy corporate cultures where employees felt undervalued and unmotivated, James branched out to pursue his passion for helping people live more fulfilling lives.
Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on the topic, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.
James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.