Boys Don't Cry  

HeuristicTourist 58M
1 posts
1/22/2006 3:35 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Boys Don't Cry

Crucial to being able to hurt another person deliberately is having the ability to not feel that other person's feelings. In order to hurt each other as much as we do, we men had to have had our sensitivity to feelings- our own and others'- blocked. The process of teaching a boy how to do this starts early in life. "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about," is the classic.

Early on a boy learns that not only do some people not deserve his respect, some people deserve his hostility. At a certain moment in every boy's life, he realizes that he might be expected to kill someone- most likely another man- later in his life. This early realization gives rise to the famous- and misunderstood- "male bonding."

Male bonding is the unspoken agreement between two men to not direct hostility at each other. It is the psychic treaty that allows the two men to cooperate. Implicit in this covert truce is the agreement to make some other party the target of their hostility: women. As originally coined, the term did NOT refer to something that it was in women's best interests to encourage (nor men's- more on shared interests later), though it (the term) morphed into a set of rituals around pathetic buddyship- something to be mocked (while being begrudgingly encouraged) by the long-suffering wives. Thank you, Madison Avenue!

Exploring the whole concept of "Other" can lead one into metaphysics, but here we are just concerned with how an "Other" becomes a "Less-than." How are boys taught that it is okay to treat girls (and "non-masculine" males) as less than fully human? Ironically, teaching boys that girls are to be protected because they are weak is part of it. This belief in female weakness/ fragility/ vulnerability results in the separation of girls into those that are to be honored and respected, and those whose weakness is to be exploited.

A whole language surrounds the exploitation of women by men. It's actually only a few terms, but they so permeate our everyday lives, it seems like it must be more... and it is more, considering the degree of signification of each of these terms. (The same language is used by men everywhere to put each other down by implying or declaring that the "target" man is not as masculine as he should be.) Take the word, "slut," for example. It's only one word, but it says volumes about men's attempts to control, define, limit, and deny female sexuality. Virginity, purity, chastity- these are words that have also been used to hurt women.

Boys are taught that the slang term for the female genitalia is also the slang term for a worthless person. One could argue that the term, "dick," functions in much the same way, but I say that "dick" is different from "cock" in that "dick" implies a lesser, smaller, or somehow inadequate, "cock". You never hear anyone say, "He's a cock;" only, "He's a cocksucker," which, translated, means, "He performs the role of the female."

So, crying is a natural part of the healing process. Boys are made to feel shame about crying by being told that we're acting like "girls" when we do it. So we are ashamed of engaging in a natural healing process. So we don't do it very often, or very publicly... which means that we aren't healing from many of the hurts we've received. If we're not healing, what are we doing? We're anaesthetizing the hurt with addictive behavior, or acting it out on others. Instead of healing from being hit as boys, we hit our sons.

Men have a lot of unhealed hurts. This why we act weird, not because we have an inherently malevolent sexuality, or a constitutionally sinister nature. We are looking for healing, but largely unconsciously. A woman who understands this about men has tremendous power. Since we have been made to feel ashamed about not only healing, but even being hurt in the first place (You pussy!) we don't generally come right out and ask for it. We ask for a date, instead.

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