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How Young Men Learn Masculinity

An interesting feature of the Man Box is how boys and young men learn about the structure. Masculinity could use a similar catch phrase as the movie Fight Club: The first rule of masculinity is that we don't talk about masculinity. Harris (2010) posited that college men learn what it means to be a man from peers, without the guidance of mentors. This peer-to-peer education reinforces gender socialization that takes place before they arrive on campus, much of which is from deep inside the Man Box. When combined with the cultural influences and messaging mentioned in previous sections, it's easy to see how boys "learn" masculinity without being taught.

Men who step outside of the Box often pay a price for doing so, including verbal and sometimes physical harassment. Men need to be vulnerable with themselves and others in order to explore a masculine expression that is authentic to them, but being vulnerable is a fundamental violation of the man Box.