There’s so much potential that lies in the men of this generation and the boys of the next. But there is a full-fledged attack on their purpose, their spirituality, their purity, and their lives. It’s plaguing sports teams, friend groups, and even small groups everywhere. And what’s worse is that our culture is promoting this attack on men, discrediting its effects on their lives and those around them.
This phenomenon I’m talking about? Our complacency to accept “locker room talk”, violence, and sexually deviant behavior as a part who men are.
But boys will be boys, right?
What if I asked you to challenge that thinking for a moment? Our culture needs a mindset shift, and it starts with understanding that boys and men are more than violent, sexually insatiable beings.
To deepen our understanding of this issue, we first have to accept that this behavior is a product of a culture that is misshaping the idea of manhood. Mainstream media more often than not depicts men as predators. We frequently see a theme of sex and money being the source of power, and any show of emotion or even understanding of others’ emotions is blatant weakness. Porn culture takes this to an entirely new level, encouraging sexual violence and teaching viewers that the best way to satisfy their desires is to degrade their partners. Kids start looking to porn to answer their questions and curiosities about sex around age 12; is it any wonder we’re having such a problem?
“Young boys of the upcoming generations are being exposed, traumatized, and bound to sexual tastes and behaviors that are almost always dishonorable, exploitative, and dehumanizing. And this type of sexuality inevitably leads to only a greater level of degradation and sexual violent behavior in adulthood” (Fight The New Drug).
And our discussions of these issues are no help, either. We’ve recently seen a push for the misconception that porn is healthy for viewing. Mainstream media everywhere is trying to tell us that our relationships can be better and more exciting if we would just accept porn as a part of it. But not only is society being pressured more and more into accepting this idea that we need to be participating in this, the content that is being produced is more graphic and degrading than ever. We still have yet to see a legitimate explanation as to how these violent images can be good for us.
But this wayward mindset is making its way into everyday conversations. You can’t walk down the hallway of a high school without hearing some sort of derogatory slang aimed at female students or teachers. Locker rooms are even worse (you can see how on this Ted Talk – there’s a little language).
We claim for this to be a part of the male identity. Because of this, boys are growing up in a culture that is complacent to protect their true identities. We don’t challenge them to think about respect, feelings, or the potential harmful effects of this behavior.
If we set the expectation that this behavior is typical, or that there’s no changing it, we are surrendering to the idea that boys and men will continually fall short in respecting not only women, but themselves.
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