[Marxism] "Leave him alone, he's gotta learn to be a man"
walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 15 16:10:07 MST 2006
Actually, Leave him alone, hes gotta learn to be a man isn't the
name of the story, but the caption of the cartoon which illustrates
the story. But it should focus the readers intention on the goals of
the story. This is from the weekly sex and relationship column in
Cuba's JUVENTUD REBELDE daily newspaper. Cuba's got a macho culture
and most of its leaders are men, but as readers can see from reading
this, they're not trying to instill "traditional masculine values"
in the young men and woman of Cuban society.
Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
World campaign against gender violence ends tomorrow
On the occasion of this campaign, the section Sexo Sentido
proposes to reflect on and address this issue from a masculine viewpoint.
By: Mairim Silva Rodríguez
and Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
e-mail: corresp at jrebelde.cip.cu
December 9, 2006 - 22:05:59 GMT
Starting at age two, boys and girls start to learn gender roles they
observe in adults or take from their peers: norms that «complement»
their natural qualities as sexed beings.
In this regard, the traditional manliness-development process is
usually violent in many ways inasmuch as it involves the arbitrary
imposition of a set of stereotyped, damaging and humiliating cultural
rules designed to amputate characteristics inherent in every person.
Absurdly considered as womanly, traits like being sensible, tender
and prone to express physical pain, among other features, tend to be
repressed in males or replaced by others more closely linked with
strength and power.
Small wonder then that the physical and mental health of teenagers
raised under an out-and-out macho regime end up deeply hurt mainly
when the boy fails to meet the standards of roughness or hegemonic
masculinity they are held to abide by.
That is when the violence they are «supposed» to display may turn
against them and give rise to feelings of loneliness, rejection and
shame to the detriment of their psycho-social insertion.
Not only do they become the object of physical or verbal abuse for
being deemed different from a social standpoint, some people go as
far as to avoid them and prevent other children of their own age from
mixing with them.
Such was the topic developed by Dr. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Aguiar,
First-Degree Specialist in Child Psychiatry, in a thesis for a
Masters Degree in Sexuality.
As was shown in his studies, these so-called «weak» boys are so
bewildered by mockery, discrimination or reproach that they think
nobody loves them. Deep down they are no more and no less manly than
their peers. Its too early in their lives to say otherwise.
EDUCATION ON EQUAL TERMS
Gender identity and sexual orientation are not a straightjacket
forced upon you at birth. Measuring «manhood» on the basis of an
organs size, the tone of your voice or how tough you are on others
is a big mistake.
The teenagers Dr. Rodríguez studied assured him that they see
themselves as masculine even though they dont fill societys «bill»,
a result much in line with other international research.
According to the Spanish expert on sexual distinction Antonio
Becerra, only 2% of those who show early-age transsexual features
keep that trend as adults, and another equally small percent of them
choose homosexuality over heterosexuality, even if they empathize
with their assigned physical gender.
However, the fact that males are required to be more aggressive often
leads to depression, anxiety and other neuroses, including the
potential risk of suicidal impulses, is bound to scar a psyche in the
making and therefore harms their overall health.
Families, and especially parents, are pivotal in that they provide
the values an individual needs to fit into the community and
therefore play a key role in the formation of his/her character.
How people will perform within society depends on their education, so
we must give them as much support as possible and create social and
cultural conditions which are conducive to their healthy development.
Any countrys judicial system and healthcare institutions have a lot
to say about the sequels of a violent behavior some people adopt at a
very early age as a means to their end in life.
Many families try so hard to prevent their sons from looking
«girlish» that sometimes those children find it hard to even look
human. Being merciful to the weak, be they people or animals, is not
an entry a boy will ever find in a how-to for would-be tough guys.
Only through coeducation and non-sexist, gender-oriented socializing
practices can this problem be tackled and this form of violence which
men learn very early in their lives, often as observers or victims,
just waiting for the right time to measure their strength against
Communication is central to teaching boys respect for others, how to
cope with their own mistakes, and where to go when expert guidance is
needed or a problem has to be solved.
Theres neither antidote nor cure for this evil. The solution is
within ourselves, for us to find if we understand that we sometimes
pave the way for violence, something to be avoided as we raise our
Controlling our negative impulses and enriching our personalities
with new values are two positive actions we can put into practice.
Add a dash of love for good measure and we will contribute to
fostering peace in our society.
VIOLENCE CAN HAVE MANY FORMS
A social, certainly unjustifiable problem as well as a health
condition, violence raises its ugly head in all countries without
making any distinction as to age, educational level or socio-economic
It can be expressed in many ways, ranging from silence to physical
mistreatment, but different though they may be, they all lacerate
dignity and cause damages beyond repair in the mental health of both
victims and victimizers.
Gender violence is one of those ways, a culture learned either from
family or social models or through a machismo-based education that
starts from the cradle. Substance abuse and smoking can be other
Among the various expressions of this phenomenon are physical,
psychological and sexual aggression. The latter includes child abuse,
rape and harassment.
Some of its most noticeable consequences are: injury and trauma,
depression, low self-esteem, insecurity, sexual dysfunction and the
desire for revenge. Victimized women become submissive and even tend
to reject their children or have unwanted ones.
Suffering or witnessing violence as a child or a teenager lays the
foundation for psychological problems, emotional and sleeping
disorders, anorexia, isolation, or impaired learning. Many eventually
reproduce aggressiveness within family or social circles.
People who resort to violence also suffer its negative impact, since
they feel inferior, impotent, depressed, anxious, repentetd, guilty
and/or insecure, and furthermore are rejected by their family as much
as by society.
In either case, suicide is a possibility, more common among women and
teenagers, whereas men usually adopt a homicidal-suicidal conduct.
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