The toxic “Man Box” affects every facet of life. But Cameron Conaway says we all have the ability to change it.
Now the conversation has pivoted, as it has for years when such acts of violence are committed, to this question: Why do men commit these crimes? There’s the biology argument, that this is related to genetics and hormones and that men are simply maladjusted to the less physical demands of the 21st century. The idea makes sense but comes with a tag that says, “Nothing can be done. Carry on.”
But there’s something else at work and it’s something we all have the ability to change.
The Man Box.
Urban Dictionary defines the Man Box as:
“The rules for ‘acting like a man’; the mentality, behaviors and restrictions that many men and boys are socialized to conform to. These tenets of the ‘cult of masculinity’ are both symptoms and enablers of Dominator Culture. They can be so pervasive as to be almost invisible; yet they lead men to disrespect, mistreat, and abuse women and each other.”
Check out the video below. Thoughtful comments by Josh Thomas are tempered by Bob trying to drag him and the important conversation back into the Man Box where he (and society in general) feels safe and have been conditioned to live in:
We can and should rally our love in times of tragedy. Yes, the confederate flag should come down. Yes, we must as a society talk about race (and yes this includes talking about race relations in our schools). However, our conversation must also address toxic masculinity, what systemic and cultural norms work on how men define themselves, their values and their sense of importance. The Man Box impacts us all and manifests itself in every facet of life, including the choosing of what foods to eat:
Take 5 minutes to reflect on how you’ve encouraged boys and men to get back in the box.