What is wrong with BOYS?! What is wrong with MEN?!

Those of you who know me know that for the last couple of years, I have been eagerly exploring concepts of masculinity and engaging conversations about what it means to be a man.  As the father of a son, I want to do more than accept social norms.  As a progressive, I also want to do more than reject the conversation and pretend that men and women are the same.  We are certainly more the same than we are different, but neither are we the same...

A friend from church just let me know that the film The Mask You Live In is now available to stream on Netflix.  It's one I've had on my list to watch for some time.  I'm watching it now.  A few soundbytes:
"We can't talk about being afraid.  We can't talk about being hurt.  We can talk about being pissed off..." 
"Being a man doesn't have a single thing to do with athletics."
There are wounds in men that are still not safe to talk about.

I don't agree with every statement in the film.  I don't believe "masculinity" is "inorganic."  I don't believe it is merely an oppositional differentiation from femininity, or a rejection of all things feminine.  Certainly toxic, inorganic, false-masculinity is these things.

The film states that gender is a social construct.  That may be true, but sex is not a social construct, and testosterone has a real impact on behavior (The Wonder of Boys is a great start for reading about differences and how they emerge at a very young age).

It's hard not to be moved watching this film, though.  So many testimonials, so many wounded men.  The film opens with news footage of the violence and destruction perpetrated by men.  Until we begin having healthy conversations about these wounds, scary hyper/false/toxic-masculinity will
continue to aggressively and violently assert itself our society.

Other books I've been spending time with:

Your thoughts about masculinity?

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