- Jason Wood
Listen up guys, it’s time to stop playing this game.
You know what I’m talking about. This game of hot potato that’s been passed from generation to generation. It more than likely burned your great-grandfather who passed it on to your grandfather who then scorched your father before he tossed the painful gender norms and stereotypes onto you.
Stop acting like a girl.
Boys don’t cry.
Need me to keep going?
These harmful sayings, in one form or another, have been passed from generation to generation. It’s as if we’re following a rule book that says to be a man, you must follow these rules. However, the last I checked, no such thing exists.
Stereotypes fuel the stigma. Unresolved pain and insecurity wreaked havoc on my mental, emotional, physical, and social health. It would almost cost me my life. Sadly, we lose many men due to these stereotypes and the stigma.
This is nothing new. For generations, men have experienced the same pressure to stay quiet and conform to gender norms. Trust me, it’s happened in my own family. My grandfather died by suicide just a few months before I was born. He was too ashamed to ask for help following a stroke. His death along with my own personal battle with mental illness power my mission to take down the stereotypes and stigma.
That’s why I call upon our generation to be the one to end this deadly game. We have an opportunity to be the ones who change the narrative and show the world that masculinity is not inherently toxic, rather it’s the gender norms and stereotypes that are.
By embracing vulnerability, stepping outside our comfort zones, and sharing our authentic stories we WILL defeat the stigma.
We WILL change and SAVE lives!