Ep. 41: An Honest Conversation on Masculinity with Benjamin Perez
Dr. Renee and Dr. Cristina sit down with CPA Benjamin Perez (@perezadvisor on Instagram) to touch on his evolving views on masculinity, both within himself and among the Latino community as a whole.
Benjamin considers the various aspects of the complex topic that is masculinity from the point of view of his lived experience, particularly as a Latino. He breaks down the old beliefs that he had to overcome such as traditional machismo and gender roles.
Speaking of unlearning, Benjamin talks about toxic masculinity and how he had to deal with it both as a victim of its destructive nature, and as a perpetrator himself. He explains that it is especially tough experiencing this toxicity within his own family and that, to this day, he is undergoing the process of decolonization, not only emotionally and mentally, but physically and spiritually as well.
After Benjamin’s eyes were finally opened in college when he began to unpack his story while studying disenfranchised groups, the hard part really began: facing his traditional-minded family. He says that he’s the type to call out BS when he sees it, and the empowered Benjamin was willing and able to express his new views. But he had to learn to nip ego in the bud and pick his battles—especially considering it was his own family that he was having these tough conversations with.
Finally, Benjamin gives his thoughts on becoming a father in the near future and how he aims to use more appropriate language than what he was raised with when speaking to his children, especially if he were to have sons. More importantly, he intends to model the behaviors he wants them to internalize. For instance, Benjamin won’t just preach the virtues of vulnerability, but won’t hesitate to display vulnerability in front of his kids.
Ultimately, Benjamin has come away embracing vulnerability, and he’s happy to report that it’s rubbed off on some of his own family members who have been entrenched in the traditional culture of toxic masculinity all their lives.
Our hosts conclude: “Patriarchy harms boys and men as it harms girls and women.” Without a doubt, one of the biggest takeaways of our conversation is the importance of practicing what we preach. By living out healthy masculinity, we overcome its toxic counterpart through sheer example.
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