Monday, November 30, 2015

Is There a Lack of Reassurance for Men and Boys?

The above link is to a This American Life episode in which various types of "status updates" are discussed. The first act is all about the ways in which girls interact over social media, specifically the ways they compliment each other. Unsurprisingly, girls engage in myriad social interactions centered around compliments and reassurance. Complimenting each other is how girls construct their social networks, it's how they express love, desire for friendship, admiration, even jealousy. Perhaps most importantly is the abundance of reassurance and encouragement that girls and women give each other. Encouragement and reassuring love of all sorts is vital for people to feel and be emotionally stable and available. While girls and women are socialized to be open with their emotions, men are socialized to be the opposite. In fact, it is considered unmanly and gay to express compliments toward another man. And as we've learned throughout this course, gay and unmanly are two of the most terrifying things to be for a man. To preserve masculinity men must be inexpressive and emotionally cold. When men are seen complimenting each other it's either portrayed negatively or as a joke:

Shouldn't we be wondering what broader effects the lack of emotional communication has on young boys?

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