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The Crisis Hitting Our Boys and Men: Urgent Wake-Up Call

The Crisis Hitting Our Boys and Men: Urgent Wake-Up CallWake up, folks! We’re facing a monumental shift hitting our boys and men – and we need to talk about this crisis.

Gone are the days when men felt confident in their roles as men. Today, we’re staring down the barrel of a reality where men are in pain and crisis – dealing with mental health issues, lost in a society with rapidly changing expectations, and grappling with a lack of positive role models.

I’m compelled to share about this topic not only as the mom of a boy and the partner of a man. But also because I’m deeply concerned about the repercussions this crisis has on our world.

My background as a bestselling author on anxiety and leading Behavioral Change Coach – with about 2 million books sold globally makes me particularly aware of the emotional affects of this growing shift.

I recognize that many of you reading this right now might be thinking…

  • “After everything women have endured, after being marginalized for so long, why should we care about men’s issues?”

As a result, you might see the need for “feminism.” But you feel men have historically had it so good – that they don’t need a movement for change.

If so, maybe you need to personally know a male in pain to understand how far reaching this crisis is.

Or perhaps I need to make it clearer:

  • By supporting our boys and men, we’re supporting all of humanity. We’re helping women to enjoy more fulfilling connections with the various men in their lives. We’re improving the world for everyone.

With this in mind, perhaps we need to view this call to action as a “humanist movement.”

So let’s start this conversation by asking ourselves:

  • What happens to the world at large because boys and men are in pain and struggling?
  • How did we arrive at this pivotal moment-  where the future seems uncertain for boys and men?

This gender shift didn’t happen overnight.

men women gender gapIt’s the result of decades of societal evolution, where the roles of women have expanded both at home and in the workplace.

Women are not just participating more in the workforce. They are excelling in higher education and moving into roles historically dominated by men.

This is fantastic news for equality – but introduces new dynamics in the balance of societal roles.

The ripples affects of all this are profound and far-reaching.

As women break through glass ceilings, the traditional roles for men have shifted so much, that men are unclear as to their roles at work or at home. And the rise of automation and the decline of manufacturing jobs only compound these issues. Because these sectors have historically employed large numbers of men.

And then there’s the unintended side effects of the women’s movement.

Yes, it’s brought much-needed advances for women – which I’m truly grateful for.

But it’s also left many men feeling like they’re walking on eggshells.

  • For example, let’s say a man makes a gesture to open a door for a woman. This can make some women angry. But this isn’t about questioning a woman’s ability. It’s about showing respect and caring. And these are qualities we definitely need more of, not less.  Unfortunately, the pushback men often face for these traditional acts of chivalry can leave them unsure of how to show respect in ways that are appreciated. As a result, these changes in society are muddying the waters in relationships and dating.

So, where do we go from here?

This isn’t about one gender winning and the other losing.

It’s about recognizing that our societal fabric is changing. And if we don’t address this evolution head-on, we risk leaving a significant portion of our population behind.

  • It’s time for us to build new bridges – as some old ones begin to wash away.

Let’s not wait until the water is too high. Let’s start this construction now.

Richard Reeves and the Challenges Facing Boys and Men

Enter Richard Reeves, a prominent thinker and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He’s not just observing huge problematic changes for boys and men. He’s calling them out as the crises they are.

Reeves sees these societal shifts as dire emergencies that demand our immediate attention.

He argues that the evolving educational and economic landscapes are disproportionately disadvantaging boys and men, leading to a “boy crisis” that is evident from classrooms to workplaces to relationships.

Mental Health Concerns: A Call To Action

Richard Reeves is raising the alarm about a critical issue: the mental health crisis among men.

It’s a fact: Men are often taught to suppress their emotions. This practice is not only unhealthy. It also contributes to men making up over 75% of suicide victims in the United States.

This staggering suicide statistic highlights a dire need for a shift in how we view and teach masculinity.

  • Boys and men need to address their deep-seated beliefs about being vulnerable and emotionally expressive. They need to learn how to become more open to expressing themselves – and handling their emotions in healthier ways.
  • This is crucial! Not just for the happiness of our boys. But also for the well-being and stability of everyone around them.

Meaning?

  • We need to put in the effort to toss out the old, rigid views that are now suffocating our boys – and stop denying them a rich, emotional life.

Society has been knocking it out of the park when it comes to intentionally expanding what it means to be a female today.

  • As a result, we’ve seen incredible strides in breaking down barriers for women – and challenging old norms. And that’s fantastic!

But we haven’t been intentionally working on changing roles for males!

  • We’ve somehow left them in the dust – stuck in a time warp – with outdated “man up” and “boys don’t cry” stereotypes.
  • These are not just archaic. They’re harmful! They trap men in a rigid box that no longer fits today’s world – nor the needs of today’s women – with their updated hopes for intimate relationships.

It’s high time we intentionally expand what it means to be a male today.

  • Let’s encourage boys and men to embrace qualities like empathy, openness, and vulnerability – traits that have been traditionally overlooked for males.
  • Plus let’s explore putting our depressed boys into counseling – instead of just pushing them towards sports – when they show behavioral or emotional issues. This approach will better encourage boys to deal with their emotions more mindfully, maturely, proactively.

This isn’t about making boys soft. It’s about making them strong in a way that’s real.

Imagine a world where boys and men have the vocabulary to articulate what they’re feeling, understand themselves deeply, and connect genuinely with others.

With this goal in mind, we must raise our boys to know that sharing their feelings is essential. Not only for their own mental health and happiness. But to empower boys and men to function better within their families, jobs and communities.

  • Let’s redefine strength for men, not as a measure of how much they can endure in silence. But how openly they can live and share their truths.
  • Plus, let’s redefine courage too. Boys and men need to know real bravery includes emotional connection – not just the stoic silence and lone wolf path of yesteryear.

By broadening these emotional horizons, we’re nurturing far better fathers, partners, friends and leaders.

The Crisis Hitting Boys and Men Extends Into Education

The Crisis Hitting Our Boys and Men: Urgent Wake-Up CallLet’s dive deeper into the educational gap that Richard Reeves talks about.

When it comes to our schools…

Our boys are struggling more than ever – because the school system has not evolved to accommodate boys.

Most boys are bursting with energy – and thereby wired to learn through dynamic and tactile experiences.

Meanwhile conventional classrooms rarely reward high engagement and interactions.

Instead, they require boys to sit still and be quiet – for hours on end.

On top of this, many schools have slashed recess and physical education – in order to cram in more academic subjects –  trying to boost standardized test scores. This reduction in physical activity is a disaster for boys – who generally have higher energy levels.

Plus research reports that from a young age, boys are now 50% more likely than girls to fall behind in basic language and reading skills. By the time higher education rolls around, men make up only 42% of college students in the U.S., signaling a significant educational gender gap.

But these statistics are not just numbers. They are a loud wake-up call that our boys are not getting the support they need in school in order to succeed academically.

The Need for Male Role Models

One of Reeve’s critical points is the lack of well rounded male role models in the lives of many boys.

And this is particularly important in educational settings.

  • Only 24% of teachers in the U.S. are male. And a male teacher is someone a young boy can interact with on a daily basis – a man who might represent a positive mentor – an up-close example of a multi-dimensional expression of masculinity.

But this drought of male role models stretches far beyond the classroom.

Flip on the TV, take a scroll through social media, or eye the leadership of major companies.

What do you see?

  • There’s a startling deficit of men in visible positions who display vulnerability and a wide spectrum of emotionally broad qualities.
  • Instead, our boys are constantly fed a narrow diet of images portraying men as ultra-competitive athletes, relentless tycoons, or solitary heroes.
  • But where are the stories of men as compassionate nurturers or loving leaders?

It’s high time our society steps up to amplify these positive male role model stories.

But we need more than just a few good men in the public eye.  We need a movement of men who aren’t afraid to talk about their struggles –  who can truly inspire our boys – and show them all the incredible ways a man can be strong, kind, and successful.

Plus… Let’s Talk About the Messaging on Social Media

Lately there are lots of posts from women with the theme around: “I don’t need a man!”

Sure, it’s a powerful feminist declaration of independence! But let’s unpack what’s really happening.

  • On one hand, women are proclaiming self-sufficiency, a positive step.
  • Yet, when the sink leaks or the car breaks down, who’s on speed dial? Maybe a male buddy. Or if a woman wants a male perspective or just a friend to go to dinner with – she’ll reach out to the males in her life as well.
  • So, this “I don’t need a man!” statement isn’t really about a woman not needing men – at all.
  • It’s simply about not needing a man to define one’s worth or happiness.

But what’s the impact on our men and boys when they hear this “men aren’t needed!”- over and over?

It’s a mixed message that can confuse and diminish the emotional well-being of the males in our lives.

Now, imagine flipping the script. What if men started echoing, “Women aren’t needed!” across social media? The uproar would be palpable. And rightly so.

I’m someone who’s deeply connected to both the men and women in my life. And I dislike the notion that partnership with a man somehow makes me less empowered!

I’ve been with the same man for 14 years – and I’m proud of it! My partner isn’t a “necessity” in my life. But I’m happy he’s my partner, my equal, my life long companion.

I believe we need to create a community where both men and women are respected – and seen as complementary, not competitive.

Knocking down one to elevate the other? That’s not progress. It’s a step back into a more divided world.

We need to aim higher and build a society that truly uplifts everyone.

Conclusion: The Crisis Facing Boys and Men

gender equality men women steps forward boy man crisis

Here’s the bottom line: As a mom to a boy, a partner to a man, and a member of this rapidly changing society, I cannot stand idly by and watch this crisis unfold. The stakes are too high, and the issues too pressing.

We’re talking about the future of our sons, partners, brothers, friends, family, and neighbors – all are on the line!

We must rally together – parents, educators, policymakers, content creators – to ignite real changes that bridge this growing divide. It’s time to act, not just for my son and partner, but for all men and boys.

Let me be clear: I am not suggesting that women should bear the burden of resolving these issues alone. This is not about women taking on the emotional labor of men’s challenges. Everyone, especially men themselves, needs to step up and contribute to this change.

Women can support and be allies, yes. We can encourage and motivate the men in our lives to face their struggles head-on. However, supporting does not mean taking over their responsibilities. Men need to actively engage in their healing and growth – with women supporting them, not doing the work for them.

My hope is this: Let’s equip our world’s boys and men with the tools and support they need to forge a future as bright as their potential. Together, let’s build a society where every individual can thrive – supported by a community committed to genuine equality and mutual respect.

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