Thursday, March 20, 2014

The war on boys....

I recently watched the documentary “The Mask You Live In”, it talks about the detrimental effects that traditional expectations of masculinity have on boys and men in our society. It harkens back to readings and documentary that focused on the “box” men find themselves in and how it impacts their behaviors and lives.******************************************************************************************************************************* After I watched the documentary, I found an interview with Christina Hoff Sommers, who is the author of a book called “The War on Boys”, she was discussing the harmful impact boys and men incur when we defame or belittle the positive attributes of masculinity that she sees as under attack by feminist groups and the like. I initially wrote off the idea that men are so how suffering when their behaviors are critiqued, but in listening to her interview I did see some merit in her viewpoint. The section or concept I identified with was the concept that there are 2 forms of masculinity at play in our society, pathological masculinity and healthy masculinity. Some boys are hyper-masculine or pathologically masculine. They are bullies and worse, establishing their “maleness” through destruction, mayhem, and preying on the weak and vulnerable. But most boys evince healthy masculinity. They may enjoy mayhem in games and sports, but in life they like to build, not destroy. Their instinct is not to exploit vulnerable people but to protect and defend them. I tend to agree with this concept, I think we all know men, or boys, who we acknowledge of a very traditional masculinity about them, and it is not a negative or something that needs to be dealt with or changed. Not all expressions of “masculinity” are negative, and like it or not, and regardless of how many “exception to the rule” we see, there are behaviors that appear in males, or females, more frequently than in the opposite sex. I don’t think boys should be shamed for behaving in a way that feels natural to them, in the same way that I would not want someone to be hurtful to a young girl who prefers trucks over dolls. ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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