Brené Brown: THE WOMAN IN THE ARENA
Ignore the rather silly title and read the research on masculinity and friendship:
But, at about age 15 to 16 — right at the same age that the suicide rate of boys increases to four times the rate of girls — boys start reporting that they don’t have friends and don’t need them. Because Way interviewed young men across each year of high school, she was able to document this shift. One boy, Justin, said this in his first year, when he was 15:
[My best friend and I] love each other… that’s it… you have this thing that is deep, so deep, it’s within you, you can’t explain it. It’s just a thing that you know that person is that person… I guess in life, sometimes two people can really, really understand each other and really have a trust, respect and love for each other.
By his senior year, however, this is what he had to say about friendship:
[My friend and I] we mostly joke around. It’s not like really anything serious or whatever… I don’t talk to nobody about serious stuff… I don’t talk to nobody. I don’t share my feelings really. Not that kind of person or whatever… It’s just something that I don’t do.
During these years, young men are learning what it means to be a “real man.” The #1 rule: avoid everything feminine….This imperative is incredibly limiting for them. Paradoxically, it makes men feel good because of a social agreement that masculine things are better than feminine things, but it’s not the same thing as freedom. It’s restrictive and dehumanizing. It’s oppression all dressed up as awesomeness. And it is part of why men have a hard time being friends.
To be close friends, men need to be willing to confess their insecurities, be kind to others, have empathy and sometimes sacrifice their own self-interest. “Real men,” though, are not supposed to do these things. They are supposed to be self-interested, competitive, non-emotional, strong (with no insecurities at all), and able to deal with their emotional problems without help. Being a good friend, then, as well as needing a good friend, is the equivalent of being girly.
…In a context in which being a man is good and being friendly is being womanly, each time a man tries to form intimate bonds with another man, he potentially loses status. Men who want truly close friends have to fight the instinct to protect their standing above all else. This isn’t easy, as they’ve been told for a lifetime that their status as male, and their place in that hierarchy, is a significant part of why they’re important and valuable human beings.
Men also have to find other men who are willing to take those risks with them. Knowing who to reach out to isn’t always easy, as men often wear a masculine guise, a mask that projects masculinity and hides the things about them that are disallowed. In one study of men’s experiences, one college-age man explained: “I am more of an emotional person. … I never really felt much like who I [pretended to be] because I [was]… putting my man face on.”
It’s tough to know who to reach out to and it takes courage to do so. Complicating things further, men can feel threatened by the initiation of intimacy and strike back to protect their own guise. Another college-age interviewee explained, “If a guy starts opening up to another guy, he will joke around like, ‘You look like you are ready to make out with me.’”
That last line got me, because it shows precisely where misogyny and homophobia work together to shore up masculinity. Ouch.
(Thanks to discluded for sending this my way.)
Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”
Entries to the AFC Wimbly Womblies “contest”.
Remember this post that was going around some time ago?
Andrea Strongwater now wants to publish her paintings of destroyed Synagogues in a book: Where We Once Gathered - Lost Synagogues. She has started a Indiegogo campaign to raise money, if you’re interested in donating, click here! I really look forward to this book and I hope she will be able to raise enough money.
p.s. Thank you, Knuetes, for the tip!
This mosque follows in the tradition of Unity Mosques started in Toronto, CA by El- Farouk Khaki and Laury Silvers….
So I was on the MGCFutures website and I found this and now everything hurts.
A defense of the new, by Stephen Fry.
So words. Very Fry. Such eloquent. Wow.
My younger sister’s bat mitzvah is coming up soon. It is in a Reform shul, of which we are members. I have been given the aliyah of hagbah (is this correct terminology? the one where I lift and display the scroll). Is there a halachic issue with this (ie, a woman doing…
I looked around a little bit and it’s okay! It’s traditional to not have women carry it but according to halakha, it’s fine.
This might help a little bit.
This online resource might help with women and halacha questions:
Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance
In case you’re in need of motivation, have some from the Doctor.
You can do it!