HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The real boy crisis: 5 wa...

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 01:39 AM

The real boy crisis: 5 ways America tells boys not to be “girly”

[div class="excerpt" style="background-color:#dcdcdc; padding-bottom:5px; border:1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom:none; border-radius:0.4615em 0.4615em 0em 0em; box-shadow:3px 3px 3px #999999;"]http://www.salon.com/2013/09/25/5_ways_america_tells_boys_not_to_be_girly/?upw
[div class="excerpt" style="background-color:#f0f0f0; border:1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top:none; border-radius:0em 0em 0.4615em 0.4615em; box-shadow:3px 3px 3px #999999;"][center][/center]
Mocking boys for doing "feminine" things leaves them ill-equipped for life, and makes America a worse place for all
BY SORAYA CHEMALY

The ability to feel what others feel has many well-documented benefits, including, for empathetic people, greater psychological and physical health. The real and socially significant positive impact of empathy, however, is the ways in which it affects behavior toward others. People who are empathetic are less aggressive and prone to denigrate others; they are predisposed to act with care and compassion; they have increased egalitarian beliefs and act with less prejudice and stereotype-based hatred. Empathetic behaviors, however, are associated with being female. And weak.

The stereotypes that plague our lives teach that the characteristics of empathetic understanding are feminine: listening, sensitivity, quiet consideration and gentleness. Empathy is feminized and boys learn quickly that what is feminized is, in a man, the source of disgust. While parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents and others whose ideas shape children aren’t sitting around telling boys, “Don’t be empathetic!” they are saying, in daily micro-aggressive ways, “Don’t be like girls!” The process of “becoming a man” still often means rejecting almost any activity or preference that smacks of cross-gender expression or sympathy.

Expression and empathy are closely related for children. When boys are taught that they can’t “be like girls” it has the threefold effect. First, it alienates them from core aspects of themselves. Second, it portrays what is feminine as undesirable and inferior. Third, it forces boys into a “man box” from which emotions and empathy are excluded. An upcoming documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” carefully examines, from the perspective of boys and men, what this feels like and means in their lives.

While more and more parents are openly grappling with how to handle “non-conventional” gender behavior in children, many others won’t even consider the behavior as remotely acceptable. The policing of boys’ gender expression doesn’t require parents who yell, “Stop crying, you sound like a girl!” or homophobic classmates hurling some variation of “Don’t be so gay!” (which is, sadly, still a serious problem). A whole range or rules, traditions, daily interactions and media content come together to narrow boys’ options and, ultimately, abilities. Consider these five everyday ways that boys are taught first not to look like girls, not to be like girls, not to do “girly” things, and then, ultimately, to lose the ability to feel compassion...

More at link.

I found this article very fascinating. America has come a long way from where we were when the first wave feminist came and demanded their rights, but I think we have a long way to go.

I think this article displays that while we have had a large amount of success in advancing the role of women before the law (at least in comparison with where we were when our government was founded), we still live in a society that values "masculinity" over "femininity," and we need to work to fix that.

7 replies, 2175 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The real boy crisis: 5 ways America tells boys not to be “girly” (Original post)
LostOne4Ever Oct 2013 OP
Cerridwen Oct 2013 #1
LostOne4Ever Oct 2013 #2
Cerridwen Oct 2013 #3
alittlelark Oct 2013 #4
Dark n Stormy Knight Oct 2013 #5
last1standing Oct 2013 #6
Deep13 Oct 2013 #7

Response to LostOne4Ever (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 01:45 AM

1. What's wrong with "girly?"

I'll give you a hint. When you can see sexism aimed at the female spectrum, you'll start to notice how it effects the male part of the spectrum.

Let's move beyond "gender norms" to a real understanding of humanity that includes "girly."

Novel concept? Anarchism? RadFem?

Whatever.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cerridwen (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 01:52 AM

2. I see nothing wrong with being "girly"

Thats why I posted this.

And I agree with you

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 01:54 AM

3. Thanks for saying so. I never know these days.

Don't tell anyone we agree. You might get slimed by me. Ya never can tell.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cerridwen (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 02:02 AM

4. You two should hug and join forces!!!

We need an estrogen boost around here.....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LostOne4Ever (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 02:13 AM

5. It's part of that whole "don't your dare be different" thing that causes so

much ugliness and misery.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LostOne4Ever (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 02:13 AM

6. There's not much I can add to this OP other than to say I agree.

The way this society still makes femininity an object of ridicule is disgusting.

He has balls...

Don't be a pussy....

Take it like a man....

That'll put hair on your chest....

What are the equivalents for feminine attributes?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LostOne4Ever (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 02:28 AM

7. The problem of how to construct masculinity has been around since the Iron Age at least.

Traditionally, femininity is seen as self-defining and centered around reproducing society. Men start off as children in the feminine real, but at some point has to step outside of it to join masculine society, however the culture defines that. For that reason, men have to figure out how to construct themselves rather than being able to rely on a construction into which they were born.

While definitions of masculinity have changed over time and vary among cultures (for example, Native Americans saw farm work as feminine while European settlers saw it as masculine), they all seem to agree that step one for being a man is not being a woman. So suggesting that a male is acting "girly" is first and foremost a suggestion that he is not truly masculine. In Western culture, men are supposed to control their emotions, actions, and pretty much as much other stuff as they can. An emotional outburst or financial failure casts serious doubt on ones manliness in the eyes of other Westerners. As has been the case since the ancient Greeks, women are the main enforcers of gender norms for both males and females.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread