Just a little warning about this post: it’s going to be a tad intense.
Whilst writing I find that the undertones to my creative work are almost a stream of my personal consciousness. I write, sometimes, without any plot nor characters planned ahead. I write whatever enters my mind and whatever I feel. When reading back my work I have found a recurring theme over recent weeks…. my issue with the concept of masculinity.
Some elements of masculinity are poisonousness, plain and simple. The concept that boys need to hide their emotions is a breeding ground for mental illness. The idea that boys have to keep this strong outer shell and not let anything past their line of defences is dangerous. If a male feels emotion, why can they not show it? Why has society decided that a man cannot cry? Society has conditioned us men to be machines that have an impenetrable thicket that isn’t allowed to be broken.
And if we allow anyone or anything in and it effects us, then we are considered weak.
When I see this being imposed on children it really makes my blood boil. When a young boy falls over and they are told to stop crying in public I feel resentment so strong. Let him cry! Boy’s can cry! Let his emotions speak because keeping them in and teaching him to oppress them is mentally exhausting. Emotion is beautiful.
Boy’s can be vulnerable. We are allowed to have moments of weakness. When a group of boys enter a bar they have a competition between one another to see who can drink the most. The loser is seen as weak. He is seen as the weakest wolf in the pack. He is ridiculed and therefore he forces himself to push a little further next time. Masculinity is toxic and masculinity is dangerous.
Gay men tend to wear their emotions on their sleeve a little more. They tend to be more sensitive then the majority of straight men. This is why homophobia among youths is so prevalent. Heterosexual males see themselves as superior because they are less sensitive. By ridiculing a gay man and earning an emotional reaction they feel stronger. In addition, the homophobic feelings that are filtered down from parent to child are usually centred on using gay men as models of how NOT to be an man. Gay men are seen as the image to avoid and to be in opposition of.
The rules and regulations a man must follow to be seen and considered as masculine are ones that oppress personality. Boys must fit a mould. They must act a certain way. Be a certain way. Think a certain way. This desire to be the alpha male means boys are more likely to disrespect women, be racist, be homophobic, all to prove their masculinity.
To impose strict masculinity upon your child is dangerous. Parenting is an arbitrary takes I am fully aware but awareness must be raised on how toxic masculinity truly is. As a boy, these ideas were pushed onto me by every reaching part of society. The books I read, what I watched on TV, the way I was taught in school pushed masculine qualities onto me. I soon realised that I couldn’t keep up these traits leading me to be a highly stand-offish person. I felt so insecure about my internal feelings that I felt the need to react when faced with any masculine presence. The boys could see I was different. They could tell that I should be looked down upon. Thank goodness I read up on what masculinity truly is and how you should live your life by your own means. If you’re not masculine then so be it!
Boys can cry.
Boys can laugh.
Boys can dance.
Boys can be scared.
Boy’s don’t have to fit with the strict rules of masculinity. Boy’s can be who they want to be because forcing these traits are why the suicide rate among LGBT youths is so high. The fear among queer boys to tell their family who they really are is so great they see no other way out except suicide. Society presses this image upon them and they press this so hard it leaves a permanent mark. I am forever thankful for the amazing support and acceptance my family offered to me as without it, my life would be very different now. The negative forces pushing me would have conquered.
The scar of masculinity is one held by many men whether they are conscious of it’s existence or not.
Thank you for reading. I hope you understand and respect where I am coming from. I expect a lot of backlash but this is what is on my mind and this is what I believe.