Sep 24, 2018
“Let’s empower men!” said no one
ever. It’s 2018 and we’re still struggling with equality and other
social stigmas that come from centuries of brainwashing. But if men
are so great, why are they vulnerable to depression and anxiety?
Why are we glorifying aggression as something innate to males, and
why aren’t we doing anything to change it? Today's guest is Jake
Stika, a ‘Next Generation Man’ who wants to rethink what
masculinity means and how we can put an end to toxicity.
- Who is Jake Stika and how
is Next Gen Men fixing work? Jake Stika is the Co-Founder and
Executive Director of this nonprofit organization that is engaging,
educating, and empowering men and boys about gender in schools,
communities, and workplaces. He has earned recognition from Ashoka,
the British Council, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and
Inclusion, and has spoken as part of the Canadian delegation at the
- Jake believes that men can do
better, but not under the pretense that men are inherently bad. He
thinks there’s room for men to improve on how they think, behave,
and contribute to what is socially and culturally perceived as
masculine. It’s also imperative that the rest of us change the way
we think and act to help support them.
- Think about how YOU perceive
masculinity. Unless you’re exceptionally progressive, you’re
probably part of a culture that has a certain idea of what ‘real
men’ ought to be. Males are tough, strong, and able to do
everything by themselves. Boys don’t cry. They should "man up." But
it's these unreasonable expectations that set them up for
- Even the statistics back this
up. As a rule, men are incarcerated more often, end up homeless,
and are more susceptible to violence. Clearly, something is wrong
with the way we raise and treat our males, and in the expectations
that we hold for them.
- How does such backward,
medieval thinking even exist today? Jake blames it on all the
little nudges boys get exposed to throughout their lives. Males
have adapted this toxic mindset from years of conditioning, not
just from the other men in their lives, but from women as well.
It’s a difficult mindset to break for all of us.
- Jake was no stranger to this
toxicity. He recounts his own experience growing up. Boys who
cannot comply with this social standard end up broken. And these
broken boys grow up as broken men. Then they enter the community
and end up contributing to the noxious cycle.
it won't be an easy fix. We all
have to contribute to rehabilitating our men so they can become
better. In doing so, we are raising men who become champions of
empowering all genders to thrive in society. Just as it has taken
years to ‘break’ these boys, it will take years to build them back
up again. We have to stop isolating men by making them live in
accordance with the accepted singularity of masculinity. Instead,
we should encourage and embrace their “masculinities."
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