David Wexler and William Pollack, who wrote the book “When Good Men Behave Badly,” echo these thoughts. They write that some men who hurt others, whether intentionally or not, are simply not good people but others are good people who, for a variety of reasons, engage in not-good behavior. The social context in which many of these men have grown up teaches that emotions like sensitivity, sympathy, kindness, understanding and dependency are signs of weakness, and that “real men” are tough and hard.
Pew Research has just released a study confirming that, as a society, Americans skew towards not seeing men as being “emotional,” but as being strong, protective, and authoritative: 67 percent of respondents viewed power as a positive trait in men (but not in women). A lack of emotion, we communicate to boys from an early age, is the path to power, strength, authority and control — all traits we still identity positively with masculinity.