This documentary disturbs me on so many levels: about how boys are raised and the gender role messages we send to boys and girls about what it means to be masculine and feminine.
The observation that boys and girls separate in play occurring as early as kindergarten hits home. Recently my kid’s teacher told us that our boy plays with BOTH boys and girls (as a positive attribute), to which I asked, “Isn’t that common?” Apparently by 2nd grade the majority of children separate their play by gender.
The problem with “girls and boys playing together” seems trivial, until we recognize that when boys are socialized that “girls are not people we can play with” — they may grow up to become men who view women as “things we play”.
What also hit home is how much pain boys feel, but they aren’t given permission to feel emotions associated with grief, sadness, loss, and disappointment. Furthermore: depression is recognized in girls when manifested as the typical symptoms we associate with depression (sadness), while in boys we label them as “acting out” or being defiant when anger in boys is often a depression symptom.
Whether you are a parent of a boy or a girl, please watch this on Netflix or PBS. If you are a boy who is troubled with the messages you are given, and made to deny human emotions you ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL, please find a mentor who understands what being human is all about!
Joe Ehermann’s TEDxBaltimore 2013 talk
3 Myths of Masculinity:
1. Ball field — athletic ability. Being a man has nothing to do with hitting a ball.
2. Bedroom — sexual conquest and using women. Using women makes you a user, not a man.
3. Billfold — economic success.
Being a man is truly about relationships.