Boys, Boys, Boys.
Friday, 15 November 2013
Children are generally emotional creatures, feel first and think later. Yet like racism and homophobia they learn other behaviours by example set by the role models in their lives. If they have been primed into thinking that showing emotion is a weakness, they will then accuse others who show it of being weak. Their role models changed and shaped them and as such their manufactured attitudes that are a product of this will in turn shape others through peer pressure or worse, bullying.
So many parents attempt to then get their sons to 'toughen up' so that they will not be seen as weak by peers and thus become a target. Although the intentions are good, it doesn't make it right it just merely re-enforces the ridiculous societal belief that showing emotion is a weakness. If they're not free to show emotion then they will thus have no ability to cope with emotion and more importantly the excess of it which will in turn lead to frustration and perhaps fear, the fear which must be suppressed and thus starts the cycle again so they react in the only gender acceptable way, physically. Through gender stereotypical oppression they're being forced into being dysfunctional. This will shape them and have ramifications upon their future social relationships and how they relate to others. In turn this will shape their sons and their sons and their sons.
So what do we do? What can we do? What should we do?
How do we break the cycle? How do we break societal believes in order to fix and reset the beliefs?
If we don't prepare them and toughen them up they'll be seen and treated as a pussy and thus suffer and be forced to change.
If we do try a little tough love to roughen their edges, are we not as guilty as the potential bullies? Are we not doing their work for them, albeit with somewhat purer intentions at heart?
What about if you have an especially emotive son? One who is quick to anger, quick to upset, quick to cry? He's beautiful and unique. He's potential bully fodder.
Or should we simply let them be the so-called 'cry-baby' let them be who they are, free to feel whatever they feel......... yet teach them how to say 'fuck you' with a roundhouse and left hook anyway?
How to we stop this emotional oppression? Boys aren't just boys, they're people.