Tuesday, October 17, 2006

From inferiority to superiority and what it means to be male

Boys are given the impression very early on that they are supposed to be superior to girls. Comments like "you're crying/throwing/acting like a girl" which are used to insult are commonplace. All around them they see more men than women in positions of power. They associate these things with their own maleness and what it means to be male.

When it comes to interaction with girls, the vast majority of boys realise they are not remotely superior to them. This must be confusing. But instead of thinking that there must be something wrong with society, that women are being held back or oppressed in some way, they think there must be something wrong with them. They start to feel inferior. An unconscious thought process might go something like, "I'm a boy so I'm supposed to be superior to girls, but I'm obviously not. Therefore I must be like a girl and that is bad."

In order then to feel properly male and unlike a girl, the boy needs to find ways to feel superior. This often translates as "getting one over" on the girl, and carries on into adult life. An example of this is the way teenage boys boast about how many girls they've managed to shag. They will then show off about how they got the girls into bed, sharing tactics with each other. Magazines aimed at them, such as Nuts and Zoo exploit this insecure behaviour with articles such as the one explaining how to "trick" your girlfriend into having anal sex. The key word in the article is "trick". It is getting one over on her and feeling superior to her that holds the appeal.

In adult life, many men continue to believe they have to keep getting one over on women to feel that they are a real man. Pornography is so popular precisely because it shows male dominance over women. There's an added bonus if he lies to his partner about his use of pornography; he is getting one over on her. A married man who tells his girlfriend he's about to leave his wife in order to keep her around is getting one over on TWO women, and is therefore very superior and manly.

Often men need to lie about something, however small, in their relationships with women. Perhaps they put a bet on a horse (which puts me in mind of Fawlty Towers! I digress) when they know their partner doesn't like it, just to have a secret from her. Or they go to the pub and tell her they are somewhere else, seemlingly for the sake of it. The deceit is all that's needed to feel superior.

When a man's identity is so tied up in proving his superiority over women (this applies to gay men also, but it manifests in different ways) there will never be complete trust between the sexes. It is also one of the factors that reinforces the subordination of women. We're trapped in a loop and the only way of changing it is through educating children about the real reasons for womens' inferior status in society. Educate them about that thing called patricarchy.

Parents have a particular responsiblity. A friend of mine recently overheard a man say to his son "you're crying like a girl".

Stop it. Just stop it.


Blogger stormy said...

"An example of this is the way teenage boys boast about how many girls they've managed to shag."

Then I can only deduce that the teenage years for 'boys' ends at about 45.

The only thing left after that, is the compulsive lying.

10:46 PM  
Blogger spotted elephant said...

I used to get so frustrated when I'd call a man out on this, and he'd insist "throwing like a girl" wasn't an insult to girls and women.

That was before I had my eyes opened. Now I get that he really believes it isn't an insult-it's just the truth. Of course women are inferior to men.

4:42 PM  
Blogger sparkleMatrix said...

I used to work in a substance mis-use rehab' where the residents were responsible for day-to-day housekeeping of the project. I have heard 17 y/o boys saying they were not doing any cleaning, as it was women’s work. Now these young men did not even have an ‘age’ to hide behind, say as in their parent’s generation. This was challenged in the group therapy sessions. Oh, woman was it challenged!

Think ‘tail between the legs’ and yup they were wielding a floor cloth before you knew it :-)

8:45 PM  
Blogger Krish said...

Now..YOu know from where I might have reached your blog..

I see statements like "An unconscious thought process might go something like, "I'm a boy so I'm supposed to be superior to girls, but I'm obviously not. Therefore I must be like a girl and that is bad."". It is nothing but a vast generalisation. While I dont deny that this thought process is possible, to generalise it and say a vast majority of boys think so...is to do the same thing as you accuse men of doing..

Anyways..my point of contention is this: Why is it that Porn is supposed to be Men's superiority over Women. I dont see the point there..I really dont see a point there..It is a sexual act in open and I dont see how it can be taken as an act of subordination. It might be revolting for you to see sex in open if you think Sexual act should be performed closed door. I mean, say for ex..I just reproduce the sound alone and not show any pictures(sort of audio only show), would it still be porn and would it be subordination of women?.

I cant imagine how lying to your partner makes you feel superior..do you conclude that cheating is to feel superior?? This sort of victim mentality is unwarranted for. I can lie for hundred of reasons..I wouldnt want to loose a gal and so might lie to her. Here, it is she that is dominating me than the other way round. I would not get any cheap thrill by cheating her. I would lie just to keep her around. So taking an event and concluding based on the event and not on the circumstances, isnt a healthy practice(you might know that).

While I agree with you on the need for parents to educate their children on the ills of society, it is often at our own peril, that we suspect everything and make the child a doubting Thomas!

12:39 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

Goodness me, another "sex=porn" man. Get a clue.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Krish said...

Umm..Basic misunderstanding of assignment and comparison function of "=" symbol. I don't think I said Sex=Porn...far from it. I can atleast appreciate had you put Porn=Sex..But Sex=Porn!!!!!...I cant help but feel sad at your assumptions.

If you can, can you please enlighten(educate) me on the difference between the two from your perspective?

3:45 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

No, porn doesn't equal sex either.

If you give up whatever porn you do use and start interacting with actual women as fully human beings, rather than thinking of them as potential things to have "sex" with, you might be able to work it out for yourself. Good luck!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

Umm..Now, this makes more sense..but not complete.

To start with, I never said(nor did I imply anywhere) I look at women as things to have sex with!!. But I cannot but be aware that they are made for that too!!

I don't think I need to give up porn to understand a woman- If you insist on abstinence from porn as a prerequisite for understanding woman, then I would feel sad that your understanding of woman is restricted to porn (or sex) and nothing else! By insisting on excluding "sex" from understanding a woman, you are actually either regarding sex in high contempt, or holding all men as sex maniacs, which wouldn't be all that fair!

3:44 PM  

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