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Only Little Boys Are the Only Males Allowed to Be in Touch With Their Feelings?

Careless, Photo by Alfonso Gimeno

In her book, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, bell hooks wrote the following:

“Little boys are the only males in our culture who are allowed to be fully, wholly in touch with their feelings, allowed moments when they can express without shame their desire to love and be loved. If they are very, very lucky, they are able to remain connected to their inner selves or some part of their inner selves before they enter a patriarchal school system where rigid sex roles will be enforced by peers as rigorously as they are in any adult male prison. Those rare boys who happen to live in antipatriarchal homes learn early to lead a double life: at home they can feel and express and be; outside the home they must conform to the role of patriarchal boy. Patriarchal boys, like their adult counterparts, know the rules: they know they must not express feelings, with the exception of anger; that they must not do anything considered feminine or womanly. A national survey of adolescent males revealed their passive acceptance of patriarchal masculinity. Researchers found that boys agreed that to be truly manly, they must command respect, be tough, not talk about problems, and dominate females.”

What do you think of these words? Are they accurate? Do you relate to them? Are they true in your experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.