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How And Why Male Identity Is Changing

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT
Austin-area certified life and relationship coaches Junice and Rock Rockman believe outdated notions of what it means to be male are changing but need societal reinforcement to really stick.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein is now facing sexual assault charges from a third woman. His case has focused attention on some of the darkest manifestations of stereotypical male behavior – racking up large numbers of unwilling sexual conquests. 

Two Central Texas life and relationship coaches say the case has also necessitated a close examination of what shapes the male identity.

Junice and Rock Rockman say that behavior is just one element of what for a long time has formed the defintion of  "traditional" male behavior.  Some other aspects of that definition? "There was a time when you know, you had to be tough, you had to be strong," says Rock Rockman of what has usually been expected of males. "You don't cry, you don't show emotion."

Junice Rockman says there are many consequences of men trying to live up to that defintion.  " It's almost like 'the soda can effect,'" says Rockman. "If you keep something bottled up for too long, once you finally allow that person to express themselves, it's going to kind of have this huge eruption."

Both Rockmans say they think that long-standing definition of traditonal male identity is changing.

They say movements such as Me Too and Time's Uphave brought gender-based abusive behavior into the open. They also say men are starting to feel the negative impacts of squashing and ignoring their feelings. And the Rockmans believe more male role models are beginning to normalize the expression and sharing of emotions.

KUT spoke with the Rockmans recently about the origins of traditional male identity and how it's evolving:

Jennifer Stayton is the local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" on KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @jenstayton.
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