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Boys to Men

Alum Mark Tappan discusses how to sidestep toxic masculinity on the way to creating good men
Mark Tappan

From an early age, boys are shown that they need to possess strength, toughness, stoicism, and other stereotypically "masculine" traits in order to become men. Many even feel, says Mark Tappan, Ed.D.'87, a professor at Colby College and an expert on boys' development and education, that proving themselves to be "real men" means engaging in negative behavior.

"Those pressures are enormous and young men get those messages really early," says Tappan, co-author of Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons from Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes.

There are many young men, however, who resist the expectations of what Tappan calls "toxic masculinity," and are truly committed to becoming caring, considerate, and ethical individuals. It is important, says Tappan, that we both listen to them and give them positive reinforcement in order to overcome the societal pressures to which they've been subjected all their lives.

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Tappan discusses how to sidestep toxic masculinity on the way to creating good men.

About the Harvard EdCast 

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.


An education podcast that keeps the focus simple: what makes a difference for learners, educators, parents, and communities

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