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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:52 AM

Often overlooked: Our "societal psychosis that defines men who show emotion as weak"

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/25/why-men-commit-mass-murders.html

“There’s a proclivity to aggression (in men) that’s biological, but it takes a social trigger to engage it,” says William Pollack, the director of the Centers for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital in Boston and a psychology professor at Harvard Medical School. “We socialize healthy, normal boys to ‘stand on their own two feet’ for fear that otherwise they won’t be real boys,” says Pollack, whose New York Times bestseller, Real Boys, dissects the inner emotional lives of young men. “They’re taught not to tell anyone when they feel pain, because they should be stoic, and they certainly shouldn’t cry.” As a result, Pollack says, men have a preconditioned level of tolerance for violence that makes it easier for them to act on it without remorse.

This is not to say that women are incapable of murder rampages like that carried out in Aurora, allegedly by James Holmes, despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered by their male counterparts. Indeed, men are nine to 10 times more likely to commit violent crimes.
Pollack attributes this gender disparity to society’s “code of masculinity,” or the process in which boys learn how to be men and disassociate from anything inherently feminine, like kindness and empathy. “Biologically, that kind of empathy is not gender-specific,” says Pollack, pointing to a kind of societal psychosis that defines men who show emotion as weak.

The more these painful feelings are repressed, Marx says, the more dangerous they become. Where women are socialized to connect with others by conveying empathy and sensitivity, men are taught at a young age to nip that urge in the bud. Not only does this conditioning make young men less likely to feel remorse before engaging in violent activity, it also fosters silence among their male peers when speaking out could lead to effective prevention. A study conducted by Pollack and the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education found that 37 out of 198 nonculpable bystanders in violent crimes detected warning signs prior to the crimes but kept them to themselves. Pollack also concluded that men were more likely to keep quiet.


In addition to gun control and reform, do you think it's worthwhile to look into changing how our society reacts to the emotions of boys and young men? It sounds like a huge task, but we know it's possible to change public opinion and behavior (it shouldn't take more than 20 years).

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Reply Often overlooked: Our "societal psychosis that defines men who show emotion as weak" (Original post)
fried eggs Jan 2013 OP
SunSeeker Jan 2013 #1
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #2
fried eggs Jan 2013 #3
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #5
fried eggs Jan 2013 #6
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #8
gtar100 Jan 2013 #11
AtheistCrusader Jan 2013 #4
flamingdem Jan 2013 #7
Smarmie Doofus Jan 2013 #28
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #29
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #9
Kurovski Jan 2013 #10
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #12
Kurovski Jan 2013 #13
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #15
Kurovski Jan 2013 #16
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #18
Kurovski Jan 2013 #21
raccoon Jan 2013 #23
BlueMTexpat Jan 2013 #19
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #20
Kurovski Jan 2013 #22
BlueMTexpat Jan 2013 #34
Kurovski Jan 2013 #33
fried eggs Jan 2013 #25
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #26
demwing Jan 2013 #27
AZ Progressive Jan 2013 #14
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #17
seabeyond Jan 2013 #24
ProfessionalLeftist Jan 2013 #30
snot Jan 2013 #31
Taverner Jan 2013 #32

Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:01 AM

1. K&R

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:05 AM

2. Masculinity is a sexist illusion. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:14 AM

3. Is that sarcasm?

I don't think masculinity is an illusion, but perhaps we can lose the rigid ideas about which colors and toys boys and girls should be playing with, or what types of emotions are acceptable?

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Response to fried eggs (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:22 AM

5. No, I did not mean it as sarcasm.

The version of masculinity in our culture isn't a "real thing." There is no way men are supposed to act or be. There is no possible way for one man to be objectively more manly than other man.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:37 AM

6. Gotcha! I agree

Is this way of thinking exclusive to the United States? How is masculinity treated in Canada?

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Response to fried eggs (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:03 AM

8. I really doubt this way of thinking is exclusive to the US,

but I haven't studied the cultural gender norms of different countries.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:33 AM

11. Oh it's definitely not.

Think of "machismo" in Latin American countries and it's just as stereotypical as it is in the US. It's really a world-wide issue. I can't think of a modern culture that doesn't have this problem. In some ways, or more precisely in some places in the US, men have much more freedom to express their true feelings without being criticized for being "unmanly". That openness really starts within one's circle of friends and family.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:22 AM

4. Agreed

but for some reason, it is difficult for me to articulate why.

Doubly strange, since we post here anonymously.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:55 AM

7. European and Latin men don't have that violent baggage as much

American men are saddled with some weird cultural crap, the smart ones shake it off but many are mired in it.

I partially blame football culture but I know no one will agree with me.. still don't understand why anyone can enjoy such a cold and violent game. At least with rugby and soccer you see the body and the expressions.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:33 AM

28. Hmm... I'm thinking football is more "symptom" than it is "disease".

But that's an interesting observation re. the "body and expressions."

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:36 AM

29. I absolutely agree with you about football.

Not just the pros, but kids in high school & college sustain & continue playing with injuries that they nave no business playing with. But, "shake it off, kid. Be a man."

Any sport where players are routinely carried off the field with injuries is, to my mind, more like a gladiatorial contest than a game. Obviously, I feel the same about boxing.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:19 AM

9. This wouldn't sound nearly so hypocritical if DU hadn't mercilessly mocked Boehner for crying

Not aimed at the OP, you're new and I don't know what you personally have done but DU as a whole thinks Boehner showing emotion is fucking hilarious.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:30 AM

10. All of DU? Everyone was it? Really?

I think Boehner is a genuinely emotional man, and I also believe him to be a cheap sentimentalist as well. I doubt anyone would mock him for crying while discussing a tragedy, or the death of a parent.

On the other hand, letting it go in public over a job advancement is worthy of a dig should one so choose, without one being hypocritical on the matter of men and emotion.

Especially considering the right wing and their strict authoritarian rules regarding the sexes.

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Response to Kurovski (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:37 AM

12. I sure didn't see anyone saying to give Boehner a break

On the other hand I've read a great deal of hilarity about his crying here on DU.

Evidently there are still rules about when it's OK for a man to show emotion.

Then you point to GOP hypocrisy, what a surprise.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:48 AM

13. So that would mean you did not either.

I imagine you were not the only one who disliked it.

Drinking can also contribute to easy sentiment, as most people are aware. Even without that, I made the differences clear. Choose to ignore it.

I have humorously admired his ability to "shed a testosterone-laced tear." But it is perhaps true that right wingers are not the only people who eschew nuance.

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Response to Kurovski (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:13 AM

15. Eh, I see it as right wingers are not the only ones who are blind to their own hypocrisy

Not saying I'm not a hypocrite, it's part of being human to hold standards we don't always reach and hypocrisy comes in shades of gray rather than black and white.

This is a shades of gray situation, if you can't see that there's some hypocrisy in progressives who simultaneously believe what's in the OP is saying and mock Boehner for crying then it's just a perspective you cannot reach.

If you want a better society you have to be the society you want, that's the way I see it.

If you don't want men thinking it is worthy of being mocked if they cry then don't mock men who cry, mocking Boehner just keeps that door open longer. There's a part of me that thinks it's funny, I try not to give in to that early training that seems so unpopular except when it is.




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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:40 AM

16. I want a society that faces bullshit with humor instead of more bullshit.

And so it goes.

Cheap, self-serving sentimentality from a heavy-drinking politician is fodder for humor. It gets a ribbing. It gets some humor.

I know --even if you don't--that men can tell the difference.

Anyone who would mock a soldier crying while recounting battlefield trauma is a fucking asshole.

Do you really think people are that stupid? They don't know the difference?

It's not a "shades of gray" situation in that you would actually put folks on intellectual lockdown across the board.

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Response to Kurovski (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:50 AM

18. I came of age and worked in an environment where mocking was the order of the day

Did it for many years, the best defense is an overwhelming offense, you mock others with wit and spite so that they will fear to engage you.

Hard habit to break but it sure makes you see it when others do it.




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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:11 AM

21. Yes, that's exactly why it's been done for hundreds of years as a wall against over-weening power.

---I'm fighting using the rolly-eyes icon here.

You either forget who Boehner is and what he represents, or you are choosing to defend those things.

Boehner is a bullshitter who represents a party that continues to do horrific things, including attempts to take over the dems as an adjunct to themselves.

When Colbert or the daily show ribs Boehner on his tears, I see it as push-back against his bullshit. (Colbert himself employs tears regularly, by the way.) I think young people might have a better handle on all of this, even while allowing men their emotions, or so it would seem.

Why don't you tell us more about your job and how it applies here? Were you in politics?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:04 AM

23. "Mocking was the order of the day"--we must've grown up in the same place. lol


I experienced LOTS of that in my childhood and young adulthood.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:50 AM

19. Given his words and actions, Boehner's tears are pure hypocrisy.

It's not his tears that are mocked. It's the hypocrisy of them.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:04 AM

20. Certainly reinforces the notion that men who show emotion are weak

We like to think that we don't believe it but deep down we know it's true.

Big boys don't cry.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #20)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:34 AM

22. Or...

politicians who emotionally manipulate the public are obvious.

Who's this "we" you speak of?

I forget that you might be speaking for a generation going back some time.

Anyway...isn't it a shame how we can't get any of the banksters into a court room, let alone jail?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:35 PM

34. Not true.

I know plenty of "real" men who are not afraid to show emotion. And they are no less "manly" for doing so. In fact, they are generally more admired - and not only by women - than those who believe that they have to "prove" their machismo in aggressive and bullying ways.

President Obama's tears over Sandy Hook were not tears of weakness, but of genuine sorrow and compassion. They did not make him look weak. Not at all. Except to those who hate him for whatever he does - simply because of who he is.

Boehner's tears - at least in this situation - are those of the crocodile.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:09 PM

33. A fine example of Boehner's hypocrisy:

He once teared-up in an interview while expressing his love of America's ability to give a man such as himself--from a lower class background--to rise in business and government.

He is hypocritical as he advocates and legislates against others of lesser economic means through damaging, even punishing changes and support and protections of corruption.

it is also self-indulgent of him, as he forgets how many millions of others were actively denied those same opportunities in America.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:13 AM

25. DU also mocked Hillary Clinton

for crying, however, your point is not missed. I don't know if it still happens, but there was a time when it was normal to speculate on the sexuality of certain males. I haven't seen that happen in years.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:27 AM

26. I never thought of that as sexist.

If a woman politician were being a cry-baby like Boner I would be making fun of her, too.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:30 AM

27. I don't mock Boehner's tears

I just find great enjoyment in witnessing them.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:53 AM

14. Yes, men may have "male privilege", but its tough emotionally...

...to be a male unless a guy is naturally insensitive, positive, or a sociopath, or if he has a good girlfriend/wife or a good female friend. Guys aren't able to freely talk their feelings and have others empathize with them unless they are in certain communities which value camaraderie and closeness. Even then, its not the same dynamic compared to women.

Men are expected to be "tough" (portray a masculine image), stoic, and to be very confident, otherwise they won't be respected by other guys and won't be able to get the pretty girl (women are generally more attractive to confident guys, and confidence includes not showing any perceived weaknesses, plus we all know how many women like the "bad boy", and attractive women are more likely to go for very masculine guys.) The alpha or popular males that are well respected have a bit more freedom to occasionally deviate (examples: tough guy icons like Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson, or even Dennis Rodman's occasional crossdressing or Stephen Tyler's wearing flamboyant clothing) because a bit of deviation will not affect their established image (because they have already proven themselves.)

But for the most part, men feel the need to maintain a facade of toughness and stoicness since its enforced since childhood. There is little emotional freedom other than "masculine" or "male approved" emotions or the rare crying (like from bereavement.) No wonder why many males get so violent, because that's the only emotion (anger) where males can vent their feelings through.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:41 AM

17. I think that the word he wants is "cultural".

They are not the same thing.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:13 AM

24. an excellent book. i bought this when my oldest son was around 8. he took it and started reading

Last edited Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:46 AM - Edit history (1)

and over a long period of time (keeping it in the bathroom, lol) read the book. he came back and read it again a couple years later. then the youngest picked it up.

a very good book. it would often start conversation for me and the boys.

i dismissed all that stuff, toughening up babies, to be men. they got to wakl it how they needed to, and if a cry and a bit of coddled made them feel better, i saw no reason to deny them. regardless of being told what men cannot do, i had the expectation they can. i see it with brothers and father. so meh...

boys havent had to walk the defining conditions society sets up what masculinity is. they have been free to create how they feel their masculinity should be defined. and they have done a great kob.

anyone with young boys, i highly recommend that book.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:56 AM

30. It's possible that men deal with their 'weak' emotions by other means as well

such as drinking. I know some who are sensitive but never talk about their hurts. They just drink to numb the pain. Alcoholic. It kills.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:06 PM

31. We're so immersed in gender socialization that it's hard to see.

I honestly don't understand how scientists can claim much in the way of biologically-based differences, when we know how much nurture shapes even our physical, phenotypical nature.

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Response to fried eggs (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:09 PM

32. K&R. Please repost in the Men's Forum

 

I think we can get some mad props over there over this

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