Boys, Boys, Boys.

Friday, 15 November 2013

There is a certain expectation that boys should have an element of bravado about them, to appear tough.  Should a boy cry he isn't hurt or upset he's merely being a 'girl'  a 'cry-baby' or a 'wuss' Why is it that society has been intent for generations to emotionally stunt boys?  Why is it deemed weak for them to express hurt, sadness or fear?

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.


2 comments:

  1. We have a beautiful and kind and gentle boy and already (at 17m) members of our family are playing "fighting games", encouraging kicking and pushing and admonishing him for wanting to look at flowers in the park "instead of kick footballs". I hate these societal pressures to be "tough" and will fight all the way for my boy to stay gentle and loving and kind. No "big boys don't cry" on my watch!!

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  2. It's a dificult one really, whilst encouraging ours to be whatever they want to be I do think there is a natural instinct boosted by teatosterone surges.

    Our youngest likes fairies, tutu's, make-up yet also likes ben ten and play fighting. I have no issue when it's a natural emergence it's more so when it's cultivated.

    Like our eldest son, if he falls even slips he screams. He cries super easy. The Husband fears he'll be picked on by peers because of it but that just propagates the same notion that his peers have been brought up to believe, that boys should be 'tough'.

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