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Unmasking masculinity -- helping boys become connected men | Ryan McKelley | TEDxUWLaCrosse

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Published on Nov 26, 2013

Dr. Ryan McKelley, shared an early experiment from the 13th century where infants were denied social interaction. The nature of the study was to find out what language would naturally develop without influence from a caregiver. However, the study failed because all of the infants died.

Study after study has shown that social isolation is a risk factor for development of disease. It highlights the importance of social connection for mental and physical health, yet the stereotype is that men are less capable of emotional connection than women, notes McKelley.

McKelley suggests otherwise. Studies show when men's physiological responses to emotional stimuli are measured, their internal experience is similar to that of women.

McKelley wants men to do away with the mask. Sometimes emotional restriction is necessary, but it doesn't need to be the default mode, he says. He challenges men to eliminate phrases like "man up" or "stop acting like a girl." They should understand that opening up and being vulnerable is courageous. Taking small risks to open up will give them a broader experience of all of their emotions and allow them to make deeper connections.

McKelley is a licensed psychologist and UW-L associate professor of psychology.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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