Can you provide credible sources for your first statement? — And, hear me out, because I do agree with some of your points, but I like to have credible research and statistics at my fingertips.

Even if every single American mass shooter who has killed innocent kids in school was on an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety med, can you prove that they were each taking those meds responsibly, or at all, at the time of the crimes?

A lot of people who actually benefit from medication (for which they are prescribed) think they don’t need it, and therefore, don’t take it. In some people, this can put them in a dangerous manic phase or hallucinogenic state.

On the other hand, is it possible that any of those mass shooters may have been under the influence of a medication not prescribed for them? Or substance, or other?

Where did you get evidence to conclude that people taking psychotropic medications are ‘on the rise’ due to the actions of “authors like (myself), teachers, and administrators?” Where’s the direct correlation? I’d appreciate seeing that as well. Also would love to see the support showing your claim that “when they are raised properly, the masculine white men are the single most successful demographic in earth.”

That’s pretty subjective. I’m sure your definition of being “raised properly” is different than mine, and both mine and yours are different from others. That doesn’t mean one is more correct or more wrong than another. Same can be said for what you called “the single most successful demographic.” What defines success? Money? Fame? Legacy? Faith? Something tangible? Not tangible?

I’d have to argue with your assertion on that statement anyway. You’re saying that when raised ‘properly,’ the masculine white men are the single most successful demographic on the entire planet. I mean, America is the 3rd (not 1st) largest country in the world. China and India are before us, so statistically speaking, one could argue that masculine Chinese men are the most successful demographic on earth simply because they have the largest population. It’s overwhelming to look at this in the context of the whole planet, so I’d rather just look at the U.S.:

White people (based on one race, not mixed) account for 62% of the U.S. population, but black people (based on one race, not mixed) account for only 12.6 %, and hispanic people (one race) account for 17.3% of the total U.S. population. Seems to me that white people, who are the majority in the U.S. (and have long enjoyed being the majority), have the numerical advantage. It also sounds like an unfair assumption that white men are the single most successful demographic. There’s a name for that unfair advantage: systemic racism. I wrote a piece on that here it if you’d care to check it out.

But more importantly, can you also please point out where — in this article, or in my real life — I’ve “dismissed” the concerns of boys and/or men? Or instances where I’ve treated boys “like they are defective?” I mean, it sounds more like maybe you’re speaking of a hypothetical “you,” but I’m not sure.

‘Toxic masculinity’ does not mean “more energy than (I, or whomever) can handle.” Did you even read the article? Toxic masculinity, as I explained, is “a set of widely accepted norms of stereotypical ‘masculine’ behavior that have the unfortunate effect of harming society and even men themselves.”

When I wrote words into this piece like ‘machismo,’ that definition above is exactly what I was referring to. The barbaric, Fred-Flinstone/Ralph Kramden-esque, borderline abusive male, with plenty of machismo who preens and puffs a lot of hot air.

I’m not talking about stuff like the typical, ‘normal’ aggressive roughhousing that is commonplace among typically developing cis males like my oldest, who just turned 18. The kid I had to regularly pull off his younger sister during their childhood spats. The kid who, when he was only two, had me chasing after him through a crowded mall during Christmas season. The kid who at age one became an escape artist capable of undoing his grocery cart seatbelt, and hoisting himself up on the conveyer belt so he could go for a ride as I was unloading my cart. (Happy to say that this child just recently graduated with honors from high school, after taking a full AP course load his junior & senior year, all while balancing a job and a girlfriend, both for two years and going).

Are you a teacher? A parent? A student who once felt ‘discarded’ by school teachers or administration? Just genuinely wondering where you’ve developed the idea that people like me assume it’s time to medicate kids when they simply have high energy or need an outlet.

As a teacher, I’ve worked with all ages and kinds of kids across many different settings, ranging from daycare to pre-K, religious school and public school, regular ed and special ed, privately and in large groups, even taught theatre classes (various ages, from 4 to 17) at a prominent, historic community theatre. As a parent, I have children of each gender: I have a cis male (who just transitioned from being a ‘kid’ to an ‘adult,’ so I completely get and fully acknowledge how hard it is for a boy to grow into a man), and I also have a cis female teen, and a younger trans teen.

None of this is to say that I’m somehow more qualified than any other person in the areas of parenting & teaching, just that I have direct experience with both, in several vastly different settings, scenarios, and circumstances. I’ve had to learn — trial by fire — to become a master at meeting kids on their level and speaking their language. Learning what makes them tick and what sets them off. What makes them smile and even laugh, genuinely. I’ve taught the kids who got removed from the classroom for being “too much.” It’s unethical for any teacher to suggest a child go on medication. That’s between parent and pediatrician, or parent and therapist. No one else.

That said, I completely agree with you that they need an outlet, as you said, to “learn to harness and control their strength and energy.” This is a large reason why I taught theatre classes and why I encouraged boys, in particular, to register. And why I enrolled my own son. There’s an overall shortage of male presence in theatre, especially among the teenage population. Whenever I recommended something like theatre to boys in public school? They’d almost always laugh and say, “Theatre? That’s so gay.” Then, as a teacher, I could have a true teachable moment.

Theatre is a wonderfully diverse, safe, creative outlet where kids are encouraged to push boundaries. Theatre can also can be a harness for excited energy, but only after the students have first mastered self and impulse-control (something else taught in theatre classes). It’s also an outlet that drastically improves a child or teen’s self-confidence, speaking ability, attitude towards non-preferred tasks, ability to think on their feet, controlling and/or channeling their emotions, and many other wonderful benefits.

Working in a theatre that also afforded full scholarships for underserved kids made it even better. Some of the best raw talent came from those kids. Anyone could make the exact same case for sports like basketball, or martial arts like Taekwondo. I fully condone outlets that help a child learn to harness and control their strength and energy.

You said I claimed both were toxic in boys (strength and energy), but I never said that. What I did say is toxic is the American cultural stereotype of what constitutes ‘masculinity,’ which boys are led to believe is their only option. It’s an unfair, very limited, very narrow survival-of-the-fittest game, only we’re not living in primitive, barbaric territory anymore. In continuing to put this machismo example on a pedastal, society leaves out the majority of males who range all along the spectrum, from hyper-energetic to subtle and meek.

Nothing is wrong with boys or men just being who they are — however that looks — as long as they’re being authentic to themselves. As Judy Garland has been quoted of saying, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Nothing’s wrong with ‘boys being boys’ unless they’re hurting others. What’s wrong is society trying to force all boys into the same, outdated, ill-fitting box.

Dismantler of gender norms. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom of 3. Work seen/heard @ HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.

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