The deal with the Man Box is only allowing for a narrow interpretation of what masculinity is and policing those who diverge from that. For some men traditional masculinity works well and it’s who they naturally are. That’s not a problem, but millions of men don’t fit neatly into that box and suffer because they are told by society they aren’t acceptable men. They also suffer from the policing aspect, which is the bullying and shaming.

Part of what is wrong with patriarchy as a social system is that it requires rigid gender roles rather than letting people be whatever blend of traditionally masculine and feminine traits that they actually are. And because the hierarchy is gendered, it means that anything feminine is devalued. Bullying of boys includes calling them things like fag and sissy. It’s a huge piece of homophobia.

As for the honored position in the family, this is also hierarchy even if that hasn’t been obtained by violence. It’s position that is not earned in any way and is conferred simply by accident of birth. Fifty years ago a woman couldn’t get a credit card or a home in her own name. My mom tells of going to pick out new carpet and they wouldn’t fill the order until her husband came in and approved it. This is what the place in the family confers although it’s typically not that overt any longer, vestiges still remain.

Alpha wolves are the breeding pair — there is only one set in every pack. They share all aspects of raising and caring for their offspring who make up the rest of the pack. The ultimate pack leader might be either the male or the female depending on who has the right skills to lead, which goes beyond being strongest or largest. we could learn a lot from them. For more on that check out my article I Feel Sorry for Alphas.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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