Saturday, June 5, 2010

Working on being a man

(This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man.)

I submitted this post to a new project known as Hack Gender, a project meant to examine, explore, poke, prod, question, and otherwise look at gender.

Point blank the boys and men of today's world need help. We are kept down under the oppressive heel of The System and pressured into being something that we don't want to be. Often the forms of help that I see for men/boys is something that is help for boys/men buried under the main goal of making sure men/boys treat women/girls right. Now don't get me wrong such a thing is important but I think that if we really want to help men/boys we have to go back further than just how we relate to women/girls. I guess what I'm saying is that before we to how boys/men treat women/girls we first need to address men/boys themselves.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that the idea of helping men/boys help themselves first and foremost seems like a vaccum and I suppose it is. But to paraphrase the old saying how can you help others if you can't help yourself. Take sexual attraction for example.

Yes it is important that boys/men learn not to be rude to and catcall girls/women but I think it would help to go a bit deeper. Where is the pressure for such behavior coming from? Well from my own experience it comes from different places. (Mind you these are not in any order.) First you have a society that tells men that in order for them to matter they have to be overtly sexual to the point of being rude. Second you have women/girls who re-enforce such behavior by responding to it positively (or perhaps negatively to other types of behavior). Third you have men/boys themselves who participate in such behavior thinking its the right thing to do. All these in an effort to maintain the idea of what "a real man's" sexuality is supposed to be about.

It seems to me that the way to helping men/boys with this is to help them realize that they don't have to give in to what society, men, or even some women say male sexuality is supposed be about. What if I'm not the type that is overt? What if I'm more subtle? Hell what if I don't like women at all and would rather be flirting with men? What I'm getting at is that instead of drilling stuff into the heads of men/boys I think the first major step is to lift the expectations of what male sexuality is about and give ourselves the room and freedom to learn and explore before barraging them with a bunch of dos and don'ts.

Why work on lifting the burden rather than pelting them with more advice? Because it will give each man/boy a chance to learn and explore their own sexuality in their own way. Hell I've been trying to get a reign on my own sexuality for the last few years and the jury is still out on it.

You know if I were any good with kids I would try to set up some sort of support group where boys could come and speak and ask freely. Away from The System, away from women, and away from the damage we've pretty much fooled ourselves into doing to ourselves. Just wipe the slate clean, start fresh and work from there.

This might be a pondering worth revisiting one day.


aych said...

Stuff on gender which was written by hacks?

Danny said...

Now now aych. I haven't had the chance to read every single submission to the site but there are some interesting things there and I do like the idea that some people are trying to bring this up. And frankly I anted up simply because I refuse to let the idea slide that men have a cake walk when it comes to gender.