Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Be a Man

There's a group I play poker with a few of times a year, the brothers, fathers, family, and friends of a couple I'm friends with.  I enjoy the games and their company, though at times there can be a bit of testosterone around the table with the banter and bluffing and posturing, which generally isn't my style.  Sometime during my first game with them a few years ago, one of the fathers, the closest thing the group has to an "alpha male," started calling me "The Canadian" and that's been his moniker for me ever since.  I don't really remember his reasons for coming up with the name, but think it was as much due to my demeanor as anything and I think it's related at least in part to what follows.


The three most destructive words that every man receives when he is a boy is when he is told to "Be a Man."

That's from the trailer below for an upcoming documentary that I think looks excellent.  The three minutes speak to the point eloquently, and I'm sure the full film will lead to many excellent discussions.  (Though if you follow the link through to YouTube, avoid the comments; that is not excellent discussion on the topic.)

I'm in my first day of seven weeks of solo paternity leave with our new baby boy, so I'm not feeling the time and energy to expand with original thoughts other than saying I support the message.  In place of original thoughts, I'll include some thoughts from others.

The Mask You Live In

I came across the video by way of Upworthy, which shared it with the following headline and introduction:

There's Something Absolutely Wrong with What We Do to Boys Before They Grow Into Men

"Be a man" is something we've all heard at one time or another, even a few of the women reading this right now. Being a "man" in that sense means something completely different to me (and maybe you, too) than what that phrase implies.

I can't even begin to describe the toll that the concept of masculinity has taken on my life. And it's felt everywhere. It's time we make changes, starting from within ourselves.


A favorite quote from a favorite book, which I've shared previously.  Follow the link to see more:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjaimin Alire Saenz

See, the thing about guys is that I didn't really care to be around them. I mean, guys really made me uncomfortable. I don't know why, not exactly. I just, I don't know, I just didn't belong. I think it embarrassed the hell out of me that I was a guy. And it really depressed me that there was the distinct possibility that I was going to grow up and be like one of those assholes.


A part of my review of another favorite book, the closest I come to attempting to summarize it.  Follow the link to see many quotes the demonstrate and provide context:

Passenger (Marbury Lens #2), by Andrew Smith

Jack worries about being "a guy." He wants acceptance and security. But his sense of masculinity has been violated in a way he can't get past. Freddie Horvath kidnapped Jack and nearly raped him. Jack blames himself, but his guy code doesn't allow him to feel shame or embarrassment, doesn't allow him to express--or even admit--the way it's made him feel, the hurt and pain and helplessness of the moment. It doesn't allow him to cry. All it allows for is anger and hatred, which he channels at anyone and everyone. Most of all, at himself.


A blog post from Sociological Images that I was wanting to share.  Not making exactly the same point as everything above, but related enough to include here and very interesting:

Gender and the Body Language of Power

 . . . Acting feminine, then, overlaps with performances of submissiveness.  Both men and women use their bodies in more feminine ways when their interacting with a superior, whether it be their boss, their commander, a police officer, or their professor.

New evidence suggests that this is not pure theory.  Psychologist Andy Yap and his colleagues tested whether “expansive body postures” like the ones associated with masculinity increase people’s sense of powerfulness and entitlement.  They did.  In laboratory experiments, people who were prompted to take up more space were more likely to steal, cheat, and violate traffic laws in a simulation.  A sense of powerfulness, reported by the subjects, mediated the effect (a robust finding that others have documented as well).

In a real world test of the theory, they found that large automobiles with greater internal space were more likely than small ones to be illegally parked in New York City.

Research, then, has shown that expansive body postures that take up room instill a psychological sense of power and entitlement.  The fact that this behavior is gendered may go some way towards explaining the persistence of gender inequality and, more pointedly, some men’s belief that they have earned their unearned privileges. . . .


Even though it makes no sense anatomically, Zooey is the alpha of our pack of three dogs and feels the need to dominate Ted by humping him during play on a regular basis to demonstrate the point:


At 12/30/2013 10:46 PM, Blogger Lummox said...

I've heard that phrase far too often in my life, from my father (who didn't think drama and choir were manly enough electives), but mostly from my grandfather (of whom I was the least favorite grandchild, but I still don't know why).
The thing is, I never understood what made me such a target for not manliness to them. I played football, basketball, was definitely not the least physically fit or effeminate of the grandkids (not counting Tifany). But I was still told to "Man up" or "Don't be such a p***y" even though I never thought I did anything that made me appear so.
When I broke my wrist, yes, tears came to my eyes and I screamed at first, but then toughed it out without crying over it or whining. I took sports. Granted, I was a nerd, but I wasn't a girly one (I don't think).
To this day I still resent my grandfather for the way he treated me like the least one of us, and I have trouble letting that go. I'm working on it, but it's a struggle.
Even as I type this out, I can imagine him and my dad looking at me shaking their heads at me as if they were saying, "Where did I go wrong?"
Oh well. Guess I'll just walk it off.


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