Men everywhere go through the same problems, just as everyone else, yet they live and die within cultures that demonise them and give them little room to exercise their vulnerabilities.
In many societies across the world, men are not allowed room to be defenceless, show weakness or emotion, appear drained and tired, or crave human touch.
In his article, “How a Lack of Touch is Destroying Men”, Mark Greene argues that many men in America suffer from what he calls “touch isolation” – a deep-seated cutting-off of men from experiencing and relishing the joy of adequate human touch, because of society’s distrust for men’s intentions when they are being tactile with women (sexual harassment), with children (paedophilia) or with other men (homosexuality).
Men are starved of physical connection. Deep physical contact has been proven to reduce stress, encourage self-esteem and create a sense of community.
Research by several psychologists and sociologists has documented the lived experiences of many men who suffered neglect and insecurities related to contact with women and with fellow men, and how this, and other cagey masculinities, have driven them to become monsters, lacking in empathy.
By all means, toxic masculinities must be challenged and a whole new sense of manhood developed. We need to remake manhood with a renewed understanding – with empathy, knowledge and a consciousness that allows an exploration of men’s humanity and softer edges.
Source: Chikezie Uzuegbunam – a doctoral scholar and teaching assistant at the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town.
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