Last week we had an interesting article "How To Be A Man" that started a conversation about masculinity. It's quite fascinating how difficult it is for MEN to define their role(s) in their homes, communities, and in the world in general. Are men hold hostage by images from the media and expectations from the community?

It seems like women are progressing in most spheres of life. The 50/50 looks like 80/50 nowadays. Women are deservedly pursuing for opportunities and roles they were previously deprived. Unlike men, women cry for help and stand together to break all cages of inequality. Of course, we all witnessed the fall of Harvey Weistein aka "Hollywood Goliath" and many more. The #MeToo movement teaches us all the power of ONE. While on the other side of the fence, young men are taught the power of "riding solo" and "asking for no help" attitude.

There are cultures where men are not supposed to cry or at least hide their weaknesses, it’s better if they seem more controlled and emotionally numb. For example, I'm a Xhosa man "indoda', my culture perceives vulnerability as weakness. Depression is labelled as an excuse for 'fragile men' that can't sort their affairs.

We hear phrases like, ‘don’t be a p*ssy’, ‘suck it up’ a lot. Such negative phrases are somehow accepted as a form of 'motivation'. This toxic masculinity dictates that men should be stoic and strong, both emotionally and physically.

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These stereotypes about what it means to be a man are hard to change. However they can be broken down like any other system that has been created in the past. Perhaps it all begins with YOU. It could begin with an open dialogue between men. A chat between a father and his son. Or a conversation between colleagues, friends and community at large.

What are you doing in your space to break down such toxic stereotypes? Leave a comment below to start the conversation. Stand a chance of winning a Masonwabe Ntloko's Manbox valued at R200 by sharing your role in breaking down the toxic masculinity stereotypes. The competition starts today 9th April until Monday the 15th April. Only Manbox members are eligible to participate and win.

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Salute

Anele@Manbox