Actor and feminist, Terry Crews, sheds light on the whole “man up” ideology that young boys are taught in early stages of life. Boys should not play with certain toys that aren’t Tonka Trucks or G.I. Joe’s. Boys should never cry because that is what girls do. Boys should not… blah, blah, blah.
When boys are taught to “man up,” society compares weakness with femininity, and sometimes just being a female is considered weakness, How many times have you heard “Don’t be a pussy” come out the mouths of teenage boys and grown men? Society associates having a “pussy” with weakness. Women are emotional and fragile creatures in a male dominant society and in order for this dominance to remain, men must act like a “man.” A “man” within societal standards is strong, emotionless, intelligent, and aggressive (not necessarily violent, but aggressive in terms of determination and work ethic). To be a “man” society forces men and young boys to suppress what makes them human: emotions, feelings, compassion.
As Terry Crews points out in this interview with Larry King, within the African American community, men are pressured to act a certain way by society. There is a stigma that surrounds African American men, the media portrays them as aggressive, violent, and generally what society expects from a “man.” Men are told to “not be so sensitive” and “don’t be such a girl” when it comes to issues that involve their emotions and feelings. If someone is offended they have every damn right to be upset, sensitivity is not solely for women, sensitivity and feeling are what make you human. Being “feminine,” “sensitive,” or a “girl” does not make you weak. It makes you human.