In feminist circles much time is dedicated to the effect of sexism on women. Though males live with privilege, the way in which masculinity is constructed is harmful . The essentialist traits that we have assigned to each gender means that young boys are taught that to be male means not expressing their emotions despite feeling pain. This message is constantly reinforced by the media and other agents of socialization. When we socialize boys to view femininity as a pejorative, not only do they learn to demean women, they learn that to be associated with anything that is deemed female is to be considered an inadequate male. This can have grave effects on their self-esteem and can lead to emotional imbalances. It specifically stops them from exploring essential aspects of their person, and is therefore intensely limiting to their potential.
A less constructed gender binary would mean that both males and females would be free to express themselves as they saw fit, thus increasing individual agency and autonomy. When we think in modernist binaries instead of embracing gender fluidity, those that don’t fit into the normalized paradigm are othered and stigmatized. We have already seen through the rising rates of violence toward those bodies that do not conform the danger that this imposes. The idea of fixed gender and sexuality breeds a culture of hate and intolerance.
As parents we must begin to teach this message to our children, if there is to be any hope transcending the binary that we currently view the world through. This starts in pointing out the fallacies that they are presented with in movies and education. When we take them to see Disney movies for example, we must take the time to point out when a particular scene is problematic and why. Raising critical culture consumers can be the first step in reducing the characterizations that are harm to us all.