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Will the real man please stand up…?

In today’s changing times where gender is front and center and you need to be very sensitive to people’s feelings and their opinions of the gender that you may be speaking to or about some folks who are not current could offend that person they are speaking with. These types of predicaments seem to be much more common and part of the conversation.

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Créditos: DR.

Some research shows that more than half of all surveyed men thought having too many gender diversity initiatives for women was unfair to men. According to research by Southam, there are three main barriers that hinder men from engaging more actively in the gender diversity conversation. The first is apathy – a lack of concern about the issues of gender inequality, the second is the fear of loss – equating gender equality to a zero-sum game means losing status or privilege, as well as fear of other men’s disapproval and thirdly… ignorance.

With all the progress we’ve made, we’re still bombarded with gender stereotypes. Just look at media, advertising, and pop culture. Think of the things people may have said to you that made you wonder – even cringe. It’s not always easy to challenge stereotypes in the moment. For most of us, it takes practice. Even if you need to think through a response, you can go back to someone and say, “l have been thinking about you” and even that simple statement can be misunderstood. The words that are used today can be interpreted in so many different forms and with different connotations.

Many women, girls, trans, and non-binary people face high rates of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Rates are higher for women who face multiple discriminations based on factors like race, disability, and age. There is no question that this sector has been abused and used in very unfair ways, but things are changing and more of the public are very aware of these issues and the personal feeling that go with these different sections on the gender scale.

For me this topic is something that l am trying to be aware of all feelings and the emotional strains that go with not addressing or commenting with someone inappropriately.

These new changes that are front and center today with all that comes with its gender protocols can also be very intimidating to many…. Let me explain: For many including myself, sometimes when l am in a conversation with someone or participating in a dialogue, l tend to hold back what l really want to say. In private conversations with colleagues, business associates and others, l get the same indication that conversations today are not totally frank and full disclosure is never accomplished. Because of these sensitivities, whether good or bad they exist, and we need to address our approach and maybe take a whole different approach to these conversations. However, the real question is whether these new forms of discussions are healthy or not for the future generations, especially young men in my humble opinion.

One can say that men and women differ in gender differences in communication style, influences tactics, and leadership styles and many other factors, but in the end the communication in a relationship no matter what your gender is, is the most significant and most important in my opinion when it comes to survival with each other. Yes, different forms of communications exist, but the basic values of respect and common courtesy are primo to any sustaining relationship. Even with social media tainting images of pullback by one of the sectors, we still need to converse in a respectful style that is important to all concerned and to establish a normalcy for our youth and those that look up to us.

Many organizations today are giving gender talks and trying to educate many in this new era and how we need to communicate with someone without having to offend them. Gender identity wherever you may fall on that spectrum, we all need to get along and education and conversing with each other is a first step in moving forward. Some may say…why do we need to be educated regarding the diverse gender options? Well, there still are some old school thinking out there and some folks will never change their minds, but we must overcome those folks and treat everyone equally.

In 2012, Ontario added the grounds gender identity and gender expression to the Human Rights Code. The OHRC then moved to update its policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity. In 2012-13, the OHRC did a literature review revealing a wealth of information on how gender identity and human rights are understood from a variety of perspectives. At the same time, human rights law in Canada and internationally has continued to advance understanding and protection of legal rights for trans people. This piece of legislation is just one small part of this entire changing landscape, the amount of new legislation and changes to the Human Rights Code is endless and needs to be studied to understand all the new changes.

The times are definitely changing and folks from a previous generation don’t seem to want to see change, but unfortunately these changes are inevitable and the new generation if you will have and will control the narrative moving forward. The unfortunate thing for me on a personal level is that l truly want to see greater equality but moving forward the male should still be someone that will chatter to women in more ways than one. Men have been silenced in this new era of Me Too or whatever the changes are…the reason why l believe that young men are at a disadvantage is because they are fearful of talking to women and a simple thing as inviting them out for coffee may have strings attached in the form of a reaction or someone not taking that initiative in light of a negative reaction they may get. Men have been silenced in many ways and are afraid to approach women when it comes to basic communication.

Are men in this new era unappreciated or have most men lost their courage to reach out and attempt to peruse a relationship with women?

As the gap widens with more women moving up the ladder in all areas of life and men taking more of a back seat…will this be something that affects the long-term relationship between both men and women in this new gender era?… It needs to be seen. For me, l will continue to treat all genders with respect and Passione and hope that we can all continue to live in harmony.

Vincent Black/MS

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