Self Love, Healthy Masculinity, & Confidence: How Can Women Show Support?

Self Love, Healthy Masculinity, & Confidence: How Can Women Show Support?

 

On October 6th, 2020, the Her Campus UWG Chapter hosted a Men’s Empowerment Panel Discussion dedicated to the advancement of self love, healthy masculinity and to increase the confidence of men. The panel included Rashaad Hammonds,David Cunningham,Braylen Smith,Neil Blue and Cole Johnson. The purpose of this event was to create a platform for men to discuss these topics openly without judgement of others as well as to educate women on how to be sensitive to the various things that men have to deal with daily. 

    During the event, there were exercises provided for the men to open each conversation as well as help other men truly cultivate their self-love. The event began with an icebreaker. The panelists were asked to individually introduce themselves, the organization they were with, and to say one thing they loved about themselves and why. Initially when the men heard the speaking task, they were taken aback. Most of them had to truly think about what it is that they loved about themselves and why which helped to stimulate healthy conversation.

   The discussion shifted to self love with a conversation starter question. “What am I holding onto that isn’t serving a purpose?”. The prompt came with an exercise. The men in the audience as well as the panelists, were asked to write down what has truly kept them from loving themselves and to then throw it away in the trash. This was a symbol of letting go and moving forward. The prompt, as well as the exercise, drew in a discussion questions such as, “What self love means to you as a man? Do you believe it is harder to achieve due to how society views masculinity?”. Many men in the audience believed that what it meant to be a man was different for each individual. 

    The next discussion was on toxic and healthy masculinity. The prompt questions stated,“What standards do you believe that society has set for men that are unattainable or unrealistic in terms of masculinity? What do you feel needs to change?”. This discussion grew the most. A lot of the men believed it was the standards women set looking for a companion. From height standards to emotional availability, all women have standards for whom they will and will not date. When this is done, women don’t think of the ramifications this will have on a man. When asked about society, many opened up about how society sees men crying or showing any type of emotion as a sign of weakness. While growing up, it was hard for the men to show emotions because they were told that a man had to be strong.

The last question prompt was, “What do you do to build your confidence? Do you think men have to fake it till you make it?”. This discussion sparked a unanimous opinion that yes men do fake confidence. One of the panelists even said that no one is born with confidence that in order for it to grow you have to fake it. All of these exercises helped open up deeper conversations about masculinity, confidence, homophobia, self-expression, etc. The men were able to be transparent about certain fears or viewpoints that were able to be understood and discussed by some of their peers and mentors.

 

As women, we are always focused on our own emotional stability that we often neglect the stability of our romantic partners, friends, and relatives. If we truly understand the opposite sex, we might unlock some understanding about ourselves as well. Moving forward, how can women support men?

 

  • “Toxic masculinity” is a view that society has forced onto men. They are taught at a young age that it is never okay to show their emotions. If they do show emotions then they are not a “real man”. As women we can help remove this stereotype by being supportive to the men around us. We can assure them that they don’t need to act a certain way to prove that they are a “real man”.

 

  • Women can support men by helping them build their self love. This can be done by simply complimenting them. Let them know that they are doing a great job at what they do. You can encourage them to practice self love as well by encouraging them to do something that truly makes them happy. 

 

  • Helping men to build their self confidence is another way to help support men. A lot of times we like to compare men. No one likes to be compared to anyone. Being compared to someone definitely would lower anyones self esteem. So don’t compare a man to another man no matter the reason.

    By being emotionally sensitive to the hardships that men have to face, it will allow us, as women, to be extremely self aware. Males deal with a few of the same dilemmas that women encounter. Both men and women can struggle with confidence and self love. If we are attentive to how we make others feel and try to understand them then we will learn a lot about ourselves. Overtime, there has been a divide between the genders. It is time for men and women to begin understanding one another in order to truly progress.