The Man Box – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From:

There is such a thing as male oppression.

I hope you are familiar with the terms oppression and privilege.  There are people in our society who are oppressed, who are treated unfairly and held to unrealistic standards, based upon an arbitrary part of their identity.  Traditionally we think about how women, people of color, the working class & poor, homosexuals & gender queer, and the disabled experience oppression.

Then there are other people in our society who have privilege, who gain certain advantages often at the expense of some other individual’s oppression, based upon an arbitrary part of their identity.  Traditionally we think about how men, white people, the middle class and the wealthy, heterosexuals, and those who do not have any disabilities experience privilege.

As the above lays out we traditionally we see men as having privilege and women as experiencing oppression.  And that is true.  Men categorically get listened to more than women in business meetings.  Men are paid more than women when doing the exact same job.  Men are raised with the mantra “be big, you’re a hero” while women are raised with the mantra “be small, you’re a caretaker”.  Of course, I’m speaking in generalities, and there are always exceptions to these broad social dynamics.  And we need to acknowledge the broad social dynamics because they are so pervasive, that if we don’t call them out they will remain invisible to us.

So yes, men have privilege.  But men also experience oppression.  Men are given a very limited range of what is “acceptable” male behavior.  And that limited list is not always life affirming or affirming of one’s individuality.  The simplest example is that men are not allowed to cry.  Heck, we men are really only allowed two emotions: mad & glad.  So every time I as a male experience fear, sadness, shame, or disappointment I need to transmute that emotion into anger.  And constantly feeling and experiencing anger isn’t just hard on other people around me; it’s also hard on me.

But let me share with you this short TED talk which powerfully demonstrates male oppression:

There is a way out of the male box.  It is not only possible, it is essential that we males need to learn the way out and how to support our brothers in leaving the male box. is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.