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Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:57am ET by  
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James McVey from The Vamps on how damaging gender stereotypes can be

Guitarist James McVey, of The Vamps fame, has revealed that growing up was tough for him because he didn't fit the stereotypical masculine gender role that was forced upon his generation. 

In a video PSA for Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC), he explained that gender stereotyping can have a really damaging impact on young people trying to navigate both the world and their on personal identities:

"I want to tell you why, for me, growing up wasn't easy. Gender stereotypes restrict us all in the rules they inflict on our lives. "Boys don't cry" was a phrase I used to hear when I was at school. If a boy hurt himself at playtime, the dinner lady would pick him up and tell him to "be a big boy". Now this might sound like nothing, but telling us to hide our emotions from an early age can have a big impact on how we present ourselves."

"If you had asked seven-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you, "A soldier". All the men I looked up to on television and the toys that I played with were brave, muscly heroes who could brush off a bullet would."

He concluded: "This much idolised image of a man is unachievable and unproductive. At school I was skinny, I had long hair and piercings, I was different [...] I was openly emotional in my songwriting and rejected by a group of guys who thought I should be tough and unfeeling."

"Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 and they're four times more likely to end their lives than women [...] Men and women are equal in emotion. Men need to stop burying their heads in the sand and they need to know that they can open up, because it's really OK to not be OK."

Watch McVey discussing children's online safety here:

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