Boys Don’t Cry

This short clip only deals with learning and education in an abstract way, and is fairly unrelated to the things I’m looking at. However, it is a poignant clip and should be viewed by everyone.

Now, I’ve seen enough videos on female body image/women complaining about how they’re portrayed and how people expect them to be – they’re everywhere. To be honest, there’s so many of them that after a while it becomes like “yeah, yeah, another clip/image/screed of words about how women are objectified”. And on those videos you’ll often find comments saying, “Well, men are held to unrealistic expectations too”, and I’ve always thought fair enough, but taken it with a grain of salt because, well, at least men aren’t objectified.

But watching this made me realise the different pressures on men and women. Women are being shoved into specific molds of ideal beauty, and advertising and society directs men into objectifying them. On the other hand, men are shoved into masculine, don’t-cry-or-you’re-gay molds, which forces them to act tough and can often end with them acting out or getting violent because they are simply not allowed to show their feelings. Things like rape, wife-beating, spousal abuse – well, I’m just “being a man” like my daddy taught me, and his grandpappy before him.

It just made me think, maybe feminism is not the right answer. God knows that the word holds ridiculous, tainted connotations now. Maybe we’re just looking at things from the wrong side. A new word – force – needs to be taken up, one that has a focus on equality. If you stop telling your boys that they have to be manly and shouldn’t cry then perhaps you can also, at some point, stop telling your girls that it is unsafe to walk outside at night.

I don’t think I articulated my point clearly as I’m sick and tired, but really what’s this all got to do with learning? Not a huge amount, I grant you that. But it does go a long way in showing how well repeated values from those a child trusts stick in their heads. Imagine if instead these boys were repeatedly told, “You can do whatever you want so long as you continue to reach for your goals”? Repetition and conviction are the mother of all teachers.



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