What is Healthy Masculinity?


A MAN SHOULD:

Blog entry by Cody Harper MSW, RSW

  • Show tenderness and vulnerability as well as strength.
  • Show modesty and humility as well as confidence.
  • Express himself openly and honestly without resorting to violence.
  • Strive to acknowledge and understand his emotions rather than pretending that they do not exist.
  • Utilize his understanding of his emotions so as to not allow those emotions to rule over him.
  • Show leadership and courage in ways that lift up those around him, not just himself.
  • Support the less fortunate while also empowering them and giving them the means to support themselves.
  • Pursue realistic health and fitness goals while also acknowledging his limits.
  • Know when to rest and when to reward himself.
  • Accept his body and the bodies of other men, regardless of their size, shape, weight, or muscle mass.
  • Foster resilience in the face of hardship, not only in himself but in others.
  • Strive for excellence while also accepting his failures with grace, choosing to view those failures as valuable lessons.
  • Develop skills and competence in pursuits that benefit both himself and others.
  • Foster the instinct to create and preserve, rather than to destroy or conquer.
  • Maintain relationships with other men that are not based solely on competition but also compassion and trust.
  • Experience and enjoy touch and affection with other men.
  • Show compassion towards other men who are crying, rather than encouraging those men to hide their tears.
  • Hold himself and other men accountable for their transgressions, particularly those that marginalize or harm others.
  • Cultivate warm and respectful relationships with others who do not identify as men, and view all people as deserving of respect regardless of sex or gender.
  • Be comfortable with his own sexuality, whatever that may be, as well as with the sexuality of those around him.
  • Regard his romantic partners as individuals, not as a marker of his status.
  • Recognize the fluidity of sexuality and gender as having no baring whatsoever on his own masculinity.
  • Recognize traditional masculinity as a social construct, one that is flexible and often fallible.

Great depictions of healthy masculinity in film and television:

Viggo Mortinsen as Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy)

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Raul Julia as Gomez Addams (The Addams Family)

Yoji Matsuda as Prince Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)

Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)

Robin Williams as Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting)

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)

Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne & Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (The Shawshank Redemption)

Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Robert Wisdom as Howard “Bunny” Colvin (The Wire)

Jeremy Shada as Finn the Human and John DiMaggio as Jake the Dog (Adventure Time)

Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (How to Train Your Dragon)

Alan Tudyk as Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne (Firefly)

River Phoenix as Chris Chambers and Wil Wheaton as Gordie Lachance (Stand By Me)

Daniel McMillan

Daniel is a registered psychologist working out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He counsels individuals and couples in the areas of mental health, relationship, trauma, and men’s mental health issues.