Schoolboys should be taught to grow into mentally and emotionally healthy adults

I like this Josh Plourde guy a lot. He lives in Bangor, works in renewable energy and was elected to the City Council in November of 2013. He greatly enjoys discussing modern masculinity, science, politics, food and culture. Josh asked if I would be interested in running this post, a counter-point to archaic, nostalgic rubbish (my words, not his) floating around on the Internet about how boys should be taught to be “real men.” I told him I would be happy to do so.



Let’s face it; some of us love James Bond. Some people really dig men who are considered chivalrous, authoritative, and strong. Some people really dig woman who exhibit what some would view as non-traditional womanly woman traits, like independence, confidence, having prominent careers, and exercising authority while being mindful of their partner or others around her. In my experience, it seems that all people really dig emotionally healthy people who value empathy and interpersonal relationships. Cool.

Man up.

Did you know that men are capable of healthy emotion, sensitivity, compassion and nurture – independent of any sort of hormone suppressant therapy? That these traits can be learned by anyone, either in school or at home, either by teacher, by parent, or by friend? Interestingly enough, data shows that men (and women) have the option to make decisions regardless of their hormonal levels if they are provided with a healthy means of expressing their angst. Data also suggests that these traits make any person generally better to spend time with whether you’re dating them or not.

Don’t cry.

One major flaw with being a manly man is the undeniable inability to admit that you are insecure about any part of yourself or the world around you. Sounds like a lonely existence–after all, women love only men who never show any sign of weakness. Can’t change your girlfriend’s tire, start a campfire or you don’t want to arm-wrestle that guy at the bar? Afraid or unsure about your future? Unless you feel otherwise, you probably don’t have to doubt the validity of your gender or sexuality over these things.

Grow some balls.

Would western culture be undermined if boys were taught that it was okay to feel sad, angry, happy, lonely, or gleeful? Or if girls were taught that it’s okay to be authoritative, confident, intelligent, or even chivalrous? Would western culture be undermined if both sexes were taught that compassion, empathy, independence and intelligence were highly valuable? Is it possible for men to like sports, beer, and women, bake a cake, and tell a friend that they genuinely love and value them?

Are there aspects of feminism that are incredibly valuable and aspects of feminism that I could live without? Absolutely.

I promise it’ll be okay.

Our family constructs, friendships and overall culture should be able to withstand healthy expressions of emotion, ambition and drive by people of all genders (male, female, in between, or otherwise).

Kindness isn’t gender-specific.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.