"To understand how men are coerced into our gender roles
and blocked from our rational humanity, we can look at the developmental
stages in men's conditioning.
Birth - Gender conditioning begins
at birth. Studies with babies show that little boys get less attention
than little girls, with the boys more often being held so they are
pointed away from the person they are with. Many men don't know what to
do if they get someone's complete attention. The feeling of isolation
can often be traced to this early training.
Weaning - After weaning, boys are
trained to be little men - not to cry, but to go off and handle things
alone. When a boy's ability to feel or express feelings is interfered
with not only is his understanding of himself taken away but also his
ability to understand and empathize with others.
Primary School - The great lie in
the area of gender is that it is better to be male than female. Little
boys have to prove that they are better than others as a matter of
survival. At the start of school, boys find themselves in a `beat or be
beaten' culture where little boys are beaten up until they can beat
others up. Boys are beaten up for not being `male' enough. The two
categories of not-male-enough are: girls, and "sissies" ("mummies boys",
"poofters", "sickoes etc. The names vary with every place and culture,
but you'll hear the current version in every school playground at every
break. Girls are hated and abused at this stage with names like "girls
germs." The anti-homosexual or wimp abuse in society limits the
kind of boy you can be. Boys are abused and abused and abused until
anything resembling qualities associated with girls, "poofters" "wimps",
etc. is hidden. These include the qualities needed for an easy
emotional life and for interaction with other human beings. It is a
choice that every male makes to survive the culture. Later on, anytime a
man leaves the traditional conditioned male role he is subject to
anti-gay abuse irrespective of his sexual preference or he is attacked
for being a wimp. It is not surprising that men feel their lives are
threatened if their manhood is called into question, since it was fear
of death that conditioned this version of manhood in the first place.
The men's movement is often labelled as "queer", "strange", etc. due to
its questioning of the male role. Most people still only see males as
the stereotype and if they are not the stereotype "they must be
personally flawed in some way".
High School Sexual Conditioning -
After having being isolated first from girls, in high school it is no
longer permitted for boys to be close to other boys. It is it is at
this stage that sexual conditioning begins. Adolescent boys are supposed
to "get laid" to prove their manhood. A boy's sexuality is supposed to
be: compulsive, impersonal, objectifying, coercive, active, driven to
orgasm (his), proving his manhood, and with a female. If you look at
what these constitute if taken together- legally, emotionally, and
psychologically - it's rape. Not every man displays all of these
behaviours. Yet this is the dominant mainstream model of male sexuality
in which women have been conditioned to act out the matching role.
Either you don't have enough of this men's sexual conditioning and you
must be a "poof", or you have too much and you're a rapist and a
monster. It's little wonder that men are confused about their sexuality.
To work against rape is to work primarily against ordinary sexual
conditioning , not some kind of unusual aberration. All men have some
of the pieces of this sexual conditioning. Rapists are ordinary men with
more ordinary men's conditioning than usual. Facing that society is to
blame not any man is at the hart of men's work in this area.
Responsibility for recovering is the personal responsibility of every
Working and Fighting - On leaving
school most men go through the hardest and loneliest time of their
lives. You have be consumed by work to "be a man". The beat-or-be-beaten
culture of boys becomes kill-or-be-killed, dog- eat-dog. After leaving
school men just work. Life is about work. All the priorities in a man's
life are distorted so that work comes first. "You're a man because of
your work." Health, relationships, well-being all come second. The
conditioning feels like you have to work like this in order to survive.
The way society is organised fits this feeling exactly. It can be very
difficult for men to really rest.
Young men are the "group of choice" taken into the
military. The male conditioning to "kill or be killed" is completed by
the brutality of the basic training of new recruits. It is not
surprising that military training recruitment ads have stated such
things as "the army will make a man of you".
For at least some of the time most men at this age (18 to
25) would give everything that they had if someone would just pretend
to like them which would allow them to "go on" a bit longer. This is the
time of the highest death rates from accidents, suicide, drugs, fights,
wars etc. Men at this age get the heaviest dose of abuse and isolation.
The pressure is immense on them to fit into the oppressive mold,
conform and go numb, and work.
At the same time, all men are subject to the threat of
being bashed to death for being Gay-like. Two heterosexual men can get
killed for holding hands in some streets. Gay bashing happens to any
male that does not appear to fit into the stereotype of how men are
supposed to be.
Retiring - When the role as "work
objects" is over many men are just "disposed of". Many men either seize
up or drop dead soon after retiring. The tensions of a life time all
catch up. For the survivors, life often has no meaning and little real
contact with others. At a time when the richest life experience and
wisdom is available to others old men are seen as less than men as they
are no longer available to work or fight. "
>>>(My thoughts): Paul is right on, IMHO, having done similar research and observations myself, without the benefit of the actual male POV. I had to do a lot of polling and objective listening, which is an ongoing process since gender conditioning is so pervasive, deep, and consuming in human culture. (It's difficult to study because we are humans.) So I was extremely pleased to find Paul's work, a bit of confirmation of my findings from the other side of the globe, and from the other side of the aisle. Here's to Mr. Whyte, I raise my glass! Aon ghlainne, chan fheàirrde ’s cha mhiste ;)