Table of contents:
- I have a worried family at the reception: dad is a military man, mom is a doctor and their late child, a 15-year-old boy. Unlike the massive dad, the boy is all like a mom - a fragile physique, blond hair almost to the waist, a soft oval of the face … And - eyelids drawn in shadows and painted eyelashes
- Trapped in stereotypes
- Joint venture
- Help instead of violence
- Ideas for parents
Video: Be A Man! Why Are Gender Lenses Dangerous In Education - Society
2023 Author: Oswald Adamson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 20:18
I have a worried family at the reception: dad is a military man, mom is a doctor and their late child, a 15-year-old boy. Unlike the massive dad, the boy is all like a mom - a fragile physique, blond hair almost to the waist, a soft oval of the face … And - eyelids drawn in shadows and painted eyelashes
Trapped in stereotypes
Actually, dad and mom literally dragged their son to a psychologist, because he is "somehow not like that." Dad is indignant: “I am a hereditary officer in the third generation! I was raised as a man! And don't understand what grows from this! Just look at what he wears and how he looks in general! " Yes, the boy is wearing a shapeless long-skinned jacket, also pinned on his chest with a large brooch. Combined with long hair and tinted eyelashes, the look is very feminine.
I'm trying to gently translate the conversation into the mainstream of modern unisex fashion, blurring the boundaries between masculine and feminine elements in clothing. But in response I hear: “God bless her, with clothes, let him dress as he wants! The main thing is to be a normal guy, but he doesn't want to! " Of course, from my side the question immediately follows: "How is it -" to be a normal man "?"
At first, the military dad thinks I'm kidding. But I insist and ask you to give me the definition of a "normal guy". And what should be done to comply with this honorary title? Swear, drink beer in liters? To be physically strong and aggressive, to fight once a week? To assert your male superiority, forcing a woman to "know her place" and periodically discussing with friends, "what kind of women are fools?" Be a dumb and opinionated blockhead (because all those sentimental tears and snot are for girls)?
We all intuitively understand the differences between masculinity and femininity, but when trying to articulate these differences explicitly (as a kind of "norm"), many difficulties immediately arise. Gender differences are determined by social and cultural stereotypes, traditions, norms, which can vary significantly at different times in different societies and subcultures.
The classic of gender psychology, professor at Cornwell University Sandra Boehm called this "the lens of gender." This means that in everyday life we are not able to understand what is masculine / feminine "in its pure form." We judge “normal” masculinity or femininity through those “lenses” (stereotypes, traditions, etc.) that we ourselves have learned in the process of education and life experience
The main problem of the “lenses of gender” is that we begin to perceive absolutely neutral things, events and actions through them. Take, for example, the distribution of roles in the family. Traditionally, the role of the breadwinner, who provides the family financially and materially, is male. And a "normal man" in our culture should be in every possible way concerned if he suddenly did not get and bring his mammoth to his family.
In fact, there are cities in Russia where 99% of the personnel at a city-forming enterprise are women, and the "earners" are out of work and are interrupted by odd jobs. The author of these lines has consultations with unenviable regularity when the husband in the family is a military pensioner. Moreover, his pension is one and a half to two times less than his wife's earnings; he himself is still in full bloom of working capacity (slightly over 40); but he can't find a new job. How do you like this distribution of roles?
When a woman becomes a “breadwinner” in a family, many alpha males lose their nerves and they begin to prove their “male superiority” with fists or household tyranny. If a man begins to take revenge for his own weakness and failure to a woman (who feeds him and takes care of him), then I personally am not sure that he can be classified as a "normal man."
Is it possible to consider the financial (and related household) function of the family neutrally, not through the lens of gender? Can! Imagine that the family is a corporation of equal employees, where everyone does what they are most effective and competent at. And it doesn't matter what gender these same employees are.
If someone is better at making money, then let him do it. This, in business slang, is called the front office. But there is also a back office - that is, those who provide "strong rear"; helps to competently manage the earned; not to lose, but to multiply what helps our “Semya Corporation” to exist.
By and large, it does not matter who will be the "earner" and who will be the "keeper of the hearth". The main thing is that these roles are distributed and accepted by the family members themselves without hesitation ("This is not a man's business! I'd rather lie on the couch and drink vodka than cook dinner and tidy up the apartment!") And conflicts. This is a truly mature and adult approach, when a person is able to discard his gender bias in order to preserve the family as a whole, based on emotional closeness (“I want to maintain a good relationship, so I do what is really needed, not what should be in according to my stereotypes ").
The “lenses of gender” are most dangerous because in attempts to adjust a loved one to the “norm” we begin to commit emotional violence against him, destroying all the good and good that binds us
Help instead of violence
Let's return to the family that I described at the beginning of the article. I ask my parents exactly how they are trying to make a "normal man" out of their son. The father says with annoyance that he tried to take his son with him to the construction of the dacha in order to teach him how to work with construction tools. "But it is much more interesting for him to sit at his computer!"
Then he tried to teach him self-defense techniques (“Every man should be able to fight!”), But after an unsuccessful demonstration of a painful technique, “he was as different as a girl and no longer wants to deal with me”. It is characteristic that during this story the boy tried to add some explanations, but every time he was sternly pulled back: “Shut up! Can't you see the elders are talking ?!"
The most interesting thing is that the father does not even understand that all his methods of "male upbringing" are nothing more than abuse of the child (and not only emotional, but also physical)
Basically, he is trying to break his son, forcing him to do what he needs, dad. Do you think a boy with a broken will, accustomed to exclusively obeying, will become a "normal man" ?! It seems to me that a weak-willed "rag" will rather grow, passively waiting for an authoritative daddy to come and indicate what needs to be done.
I suggest that parents, at least for a while, forget about the "real man" and abstract themselves from gender lenses. I ask: "What qualities would you like to cultivate in your son so that in the future he will be all right?" Dad again for his own: “Every man should be able to endure and overcome life's difficulties. And he only worked with me for a day at the dacha and immediately gave up! " Fortunately, we very quickly come to understand that the ability to endure and successfully cope with life's difficulties is relevant for everyone - both for boys and girls, and the "real man" has nothing to do with it. But all the same, the question remains unresolved, how to teach this ability of the child (especially if we consider that he “meets with hostility” all parental initiatives).
In the course of further analysis, we find out that parents who are obsessed with raising a "real man" do not know their child at all. They have no idea how their son lives, the circle of his friends and interests. By the way, the boy's appearance was also explained quite logically. It turned out that he was an elf (more precisely, a fan of role-playing games based on Tolkien's books).
It also turned out that two or three times a week he was engaged in swordsmanship, and they had better tricks there than his father tried to show him. And he sits at the computer for hours for a reason: together with friends they write the continuation of the wanderings of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and he is the editor of this project (collects and combines texts sent by other participants). In general, the child lives a completely normal and full life for his age, very far from such abstractions as "a real man".
I ask if there are any present or future difficulties in his life that seem difficult and terrible, but which he wants to overcome. He thinks for a minute, but then he names several things from his life: he would like to take a prize in a fencing competition; improve your understanding of physics and grades in this subject; get to know a girl from a parallel class better, etc.
I draw the attention of parents that these are real difficulties from the world in which their child now exists. The construction of a summer house is a decision of adults, it is not from his world. Therefore, do not be surprised that he is "not interested". If you want to teach your child to overcome difficulties - help him achieve what is really important to him! The main thing is not to do instead of him and not to give him a solution to the problem on a silver platter. But you can and should help.
By the way, there was an awkward pause in the conversation … It turns out that the son had already asked for a physics tutor before. He was ready to engage more and make efforts to overcome his real life difficulties. But the parents concerned about the problems of raising a "real man" forgot about his request. He showed adult responsibility, and his parents were most worried about his elven makeup. Such are the inconsistencies …
Ideas for parents
1. If it seems to you that your teenager does not correspond to the ideal of masculinity / femininity, then it only seems to you. Because there is no standard.
2. If you feel that your teen is not in line with the ideal of masculinity / femininity, then you do not think so. But you are misrepresenting the problem. Broader life difficulties / problems are probably behind the child's non-compliance with the “gender ideal”. What kind?
3. Do not invent “trainings” and “tests” for the child far from his life. The best educational activities are those that respect his life world and help in solving problems and problems that are urgent for the child himself.