This Is The Real Problem With Male 'Strength'

02/20/2014 04:24 pm ET | Updated Dec 29, 2014

Girls need to be beautiful, boys need to be strong. Girls need to be delicate, boys need to be athletic.

These are the messages hammered into the minds of most children as they grow up -- and, unfortunately, they create some pretty messed-up expectations for all young people are they enter adulthood and beyond.

Breaking down these stereotypes is one of the core missions of The Representation Project and the organization's new video, "Rewrite The Story." The clip makes it clear that gendered expectations hurt all human beings -- not just girls and women -- from the moment they leave the womb. It also explores how these early lessons create a culture where women believe their power is in their looks, and men believe their power is in their physical strength and influence over other people.

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rewrite the story

And it's not just women who need to be participating in conversations about body image, stereotyping and gender-based inequality. Men need to start talking, too.

"It's important to include men [in these dialogues] so they can see how the fight for equality affects them," writes PolicyMic's Elizabeth Plank. While discussions about how women and girls are sexualized are prevalent, debates about masculinity and power are less mainstream.

As educator and filmmaker Jackson Katz says: "We need to redefine strength in men, not as the power over other people, but as forces for justice."

This video seems like a great first step.

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