Masculinities Response Paper example

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Response Paper: Masculinities

To me, the article by W. Pollack is the most comprehensive reading on the topic of 'real boys' image and how it harms boys, girls and the whole society so far. It summarizes many issues that are interrelated and lead to developing yet another generation of 'tough boys' who do not cry and do not show sympathy, sorrow or tenderness. Today many psychologists and activists campaign rethinking of approaches to upbringing boys and educating them on the whole diversity of emotions and opportunities they have in life. I am not sure the situation was so progressive back in 1998 when this article was created. Majority of my answers in fill-in exercise are similar to what the article explains about strict patterns boys are supposed to fit in from the early childhood. It is because this restricting and toughening that takes place in boy's life is still a prevailing way to bring up boys - and to explain that whatever boys do to others is OK, because 'boys will be boys'.

I have dubious feelings about the points related to shame. What I observe in life is that girls are as much derided for anything considered shameful as boys and requested to avoid shameful situations. Girls are equally eager to avoid being shamed, yet there are plenty of pretexts on which they can be shamed both by adults and boys. While it is not a girl's task to judge what a boy does (patriarchal stereotype), boys feel free to laugh at girls and tease them. Besides, this behavior is also promoted as a sign of masculinity. It may be so that I get the point presented by Pollack wrong, but his ideas about shame place boys above the shameful situation, they are allowed to escape shaming because 'it is hard for them' while girls are expected to meet the consequences and show repentance.

Four stereotypes of the "sturdy oak", "Give 'em hell", the "big wheel", and "No sissy stuff" are still ruling in our culture, and children's literature continues to promote them (Pollack, 23-25). I can hardly name a book that would reverse the point of view - that a sensitive and tender boy teaches rude boys kindness or leaves their company to play with girls or play alone as he pleases. Usually this tender boy 'learns' a lesson of toxic masculinity and starts to behave as expected of a 'true boy'. Otherness is hardly praised or shown as a positive trait. Separation is a part of this stereotype that boys need to be totally independent and self-reliant. In my view, because of this stereotype it is hard for parents to accept the idea that boys need as much care, cuddling and expressions of unconventional love as girls do (although girls do not always get this amount of love and care either). A point especially conspicuous in this narration is opinions of 'experts' who are entrusted with children's well-being, like school principals, experienced school …

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