What Is Positive Masculinity, And How Do You Cultivate It?

Learn about positive masculinity and how to redefine what it means to be a man by embracing empathy, vulnerability, and respect.

In recent years, the concept of masculinity has come under scrutiny as traditional gender roles and stereotypes are challenged and redefined.

The notion of toxic expression of masculinity has gained widespread attention, highlighting the harmful effects of certain cultural expectations placed on men to adhere to a narrow definition of what it means to be masculine.

However, it is important to recognize that masculinity itself is not toxic, and there is a growing movement towards embracing true, healthy, and positive masculinity.

Table of Contents

What is Positive Masculinity?

Positive masculinity also called healthy or true masculinity can be defined as a way of expressing traditional masculine traits in a healthy and non-toxic manner.

This includes traits such as strength, courage, independence, and leadership, but also covers qualities such as empathy, vulnerability, and emotional intelligence.

Healthy masculinity allows for a more inclusive and better understanding of what it means to be a man, encouraging men to embrace their full range of emotions and experiences without fear of judgment or ridicule.

Related: How to Ruin Relationships with Toxic Masculinity

Positive Masculinity Traits and Characteristics

Healthy masculinity in display - a man teaching his son

There are outstanding characteristics that define positive masculinity which every man is encouraged to possess.

Let’s take a closer look:

1. Healthy Masculinity Breaks Down Stereotypes

One of the foremost signs of positive masculinity is breaking down harmful stereotypes that limit men’s self-expression and emotional well-being.

Traditional notions of masculinity often emphasize qualities such as stoicism, aggression, and dominance, while discouraging vulnerability, sensitivity, and nurturing behaviour.

By challenging these stereotypes and encouraging men to explore a more diverse and authentic range of emotions and behaviours, positive masculinity promotes healthier relationships, improved mental health, and greater overall well-being.

2. Positive Masculinity is Empathetic

One important characteristic of positive masculinity is the cultivation of empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

These skills are crucial for building strong and meaningful relationships, and promoting communication, collaboration, understanding, and compassion towards others.

3. True Masculinity Is Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence involves recognizing and managing your own emotions healthily and constructively and by extension, those of others.

By encouraging men to develop their capacity for emotional intelligence, true masculinity empowers them to engage more fully with their own emotions and the emotions of those around them.

This can lead to greater emotional resilience, improved conflict-resolution skills, and enhanced interpersonal connections.

In a society that often glorifies toughness and emotional suppression in men, embracing emotional intelligence is a radical act of self-love and compassion.

Related: Who is a High Value Man?

4. Positive Masculinity Acknowledges Intersectionality

Positive masculinity also acknowledges the importance of intersectionality in the conversation around gender identity and expression.

This means recognizing that masculinity is not a monolithic or universal experience but is shaped by factors such as race, class, sexuality, and culture.

By taking a more intersectional approach to understanding masculinity, we can better appreciate the diverse and complex ways in which men experience their gender and navigate the world.

5. Healthy Masculinity Respects Diversity and Inclusivity

Inclusivity and diversity are key aspects of healthy masculinity, as it involves creating a more welcoming and accepting space for men of all backgrounds and identities.

This includes embracing gender non-conforming men, transgender men, and men who do not fit traditional stereotypes of masculinity.

By celebrating the diversity of male experiences and creating a more inclusive definition of what it means to be a man, true masculinity challenges harmful norms and encourages a more authentic and fulfilling expression of gender identity.

6. True Masculinity Expresses Healthy Communication and Vulnerability

Healthy masculinity prioritizes open, honest, and respectful communication.

It involves expressing thoughts and feelings authentically, while also listening attentively to others without judgment.

Embracing vulnerability is seen as a strength, as it allows men to connect more deeply with themselves and others, fostering trust and intimacy in relationships.

Related: How to be a Real Man Through Confidence

7. True Masculinity Shows Responsibility and Accountability

Positive masculinity entails taking responsibility for your actions and their impact on others.

It involves owning up to mistakes, learning from them, and making amends when necessary.

Men who embody positive masculinity understand the importance of accountability in building trust and integrity, both personally and within their communities.

Impacts of Healthy Masculinity

A man showing positive and true masculinity masculinity

1. Individual Benefits

Embracing positive masculinity offers significant benefits for individuals.

It develops emotional intelligence, reducing stigma around seeking help and promoting mental well-being.

Additionally, positive masculine traits such as empathy and communication enhance interpersonal connections, leading to healthier and more fulfilling relationships in both personal and professional spheres.

2. Promotes Gender Equality and Social Justice

Healthy masculinity plays a pivotal role in advancing gender equality and social justice.

By challenging rigid gender norms, positive masculinity promotes inclusivity and dismantles stereotypes, sustaining a more equitable society.

Men who express positive masculinity serve as allies in the fight against discrimination and injustice, advocating for equality and fairness across all genders.

Their commitment to promoting social justice contributes to creating a more just and inclusive world for everyone, regardless of gender.

Related: How Emotional Intelligence Makes You a Real Man

3. Building Stronger Inclusive Communities

Healthy and true masculinity contributes to building stronger, more inclusive communities.

Positive masculinity triggers collaboration, empathy, and respect, cultivating a sense of unity and belonging among community members.

Additionally, communities that embrace healthy masculinity celebrate diverse expressions of gender, promoting inclusivity and acceptance for all individuals.

By valuing diversity and encouraging a culture of respect, communities can create environments where everyone feels welcomed and valued, leading to greater cohesion and social harmony.

How to Promote and Cultivate Healthy Masculinity

A man watching men who are expressing vulnerability

1. Parenting Strategies

Parenting strategies for promoting healthy masculinity in boys involve creating a nurturing environment where emotional expression is encouraged without judgment.

Modeling healthy behaviours such as empathy, respect, and accountability is crucial.

Exposure to diverse role models exhibiting positive masculine traits, including caregivers and community leaders, broadens their perspective.

Challenging traditional gender stereotypes empowers boys to pursue interests and activities freely, promoting authenticity and self-confidence in their development.

2. Education Initiatives

Education initiatives to encourage positive masculine traits focus on holistic development.

By integrating social-emotional learning into the curriculum, students gain essential skills like emotional intelligence and empathy.

Critical thinking encourages them to deconstruct gender stereotypes, promoting inclusivity and understanding.

Exposure to positive role models through guest speakers or mentorship programs reinforces desirable traits.

Additionally, promoting healthy masculinity through education promotes respect and healthy relationships, contributing to a culture of positivity and mutual respect within educational settings.

3. Media’s Role in Promoting True Masculinity

Media representation plays a vital role in shaping perceptions of masculinity.

Advocating for diversity encourages the portrayal of male characters with varied traits and interests, challenging stereotypes.

Promoting media literacy helps consumers critically analyze portrayals of masculinity, fostering awareness and understanding.

Amplifying positive messages celebrates content that highlights traits like empathy and respect, contributing to a more inclusive expression of masculinity in popular culture.

4. Workplace Culture and Leadership Development

Workplace culture and leadership development initiatives play a crucial role in promoting true masculinity.

Encouraging inclusive leadership fosters empathy, collaboration, and inclusivity among leaders.

Providing training on emotional intelligence, communication skills, and unconscious bias promotes positive masculine traits among employees.

Supporting work-life balance through policies and initiatives enhances holistic well-being and fosters positive relationships.

Addressing gender equity by promoting diversity in leadership and addressing toxic behaviours creates a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment for all.

5. The Role of Cultural Influences in Shaping Positive Masculinity

Community and cultural influences shape perceptions of masculinity.

Gender equity programs developed in partnership with community organizations challenge harmful norms and promote positive masculinity.

Engaging men and boys in community efforts against gender-based violence and for gender equality promotes positive relationships and social change.

Respecting and celebrating diverse cultural expressions of masculinity acknowledges variations across communities.

Providing resources, support groups, and mentorship programs empowers men and boys to navigate societal expectations and cultivate healthy masculine identities aligned with their values.

Positive Masculinity Examples

Here are some scenarios that demonstrate positive masculinity examples in real life:

Scenario 1: Supporting a Friend in Need

John notices that his friend, Mike, has been feeling down lately. Instead of ignoring it or brushing it off, John approaches Mike and asks how he’s doing.

Mike opens up about his struggles with work stress and personal issues.

John listens attentively, offers words of encouragement, and suggests they spend time together doing something enjoyable to lift Mike’s spirits.

By showing empathy, offering support, and being present for his friend, John demonstrates positive masculinity traits of emotional intelligence, vulnerability, and supportive relationships.

Scenario 2: Advocating for Gender Equality

Mark is part of a team at work discussing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

When the topic of gender equality arises, Mark actively speaks up about the importance of promoting equal opportunities for all genders in the workplace.

He shares research on the benefits of gender diversity and suggests concrete actions the team can take to address any gender biases or barriers.

Mark’s advocacy for gender equality demonstrates healthy masculinity traits of respect for others, accountability, and advocating for social justice.

Scenario 3: Expressing Vulnerability in a Relationship

Alex has been dating Sarah for several months and feels a strong connection with her.

During a conversation about their past experiences, Sarah shares a personal story that triggers memories of a traumatic event for Alex.

Instead of bottling up his emotions or shutting down, Alex bravely opens up to Sarah about his own experience and how it’s impacting him in the present.

He expresses vulnerability, trusting Sarah with his feelings and seeking comfort and support from her.

In this scenario, Alex demonstrates positive masculinity traits of vulnerability, healthy communication, and building supportive relationships.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you develop positive masculinity?

Develop healthy masculinity through self-reflection, challenging stereotypes, embracing emotions, fostering empathy, promoting equality, and building supportive relationships based on respect and understanding.

How do you cultivate masculinity?

Cultivate masculinity by embracing diverse expressions, practicing healthy communication, nurturing emotional intelligence, challenging toxic behaviors, and advocating for social justice and equality.

What are positive expressions of masculinity?

Positive expressions of masculinity include empathy, vulnerability, respect, integrity, accountability, emotional intelligence, healthy communication, and advocating for equality and social justice.

What is the positivist view of masculinity?

The positivist view of masculinity emphasizes promoting traits and behaviors that contribute to well-being, respect, and equality while challenging harmful stereotypes and toxic behaviors.

Final Word from Gentsways

Positive masculinity transcends traditional stereotypes, expressing traits like empathy, respect, and emotional intelligence.

Cultivating healthy masculinity requires self-reflection, challenging outdated norms, and promoting healthy communication and relationships.

When you embrace diverse expressions of masculinity and advocate for equality and social justice, you can contribute to a more inclusive and respectful society.

Cultivating true masculinity is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and growth, leading to healthier individuals, relationships, and communities.

References:

  1. https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/37/4/daac121/6680031
  2. https://www.crowthercentre.org.au/resources/positive-masculinity-in-boys-and-young-men/
  3. https://iamalpham.com/how-to-find-the-secret-to-positive-masculinity/
TRUE GENTLEMAN