The notion of having physical resilience as a way to get by in life seems to have overshadowed the equally important need for mental resilience.
Artist Grayson Perry summed this up perfectly in his latest book on masculinity, ‘The Descent of Man’. In it, he describes a time when he rode past a young boy who was struggling to cycle up a steep track in a forest.
The boy sobbed and called for his dad. He refused Perry’s help.
Perry looked over to the boy’s dad, who was stood arms crossed in the distance, and said he “looked angry, with a face that said: ‘Toughen up, don’t whine, be a man!’”
And that’s where the problem begins.
Society should not underestimate the huge amount of pressure young boys face today, some of which are often assumed to only affect girls.
Family breakdown, stress at school, body image issues, early sexualisation, 24/7 online networking, bullying on and offline and uncertainty about the future after school are all piling on the stress for boys.
– Amy Packham