As alpha male playwright David Mamet notes, "Women have, in men's minds, such a low place on the social ladder ... that it's useless to define yourself in terms of a woman. What men need is men's approval."
Imagine a world where you can't express your feelings. Where women are treated as objects or bargaining chips, and alcoholism and drug abuse are the norm. Where you must reject your own mother, and your father will rebuff you. You'll belong to a kind of cult that demands that you ostracize anyone who doesn't follow the group's twisted values. This cult may pressure you into physically and sexually abusing someone incapable of fighting back. If you're an American guy age 16-26, congratulations. You probably live there already.
"We need to develop a pedagogy of resilience," he says. Boys need a "charismatic adult," he proposes, "a person with whom they can identify and from whom they gather strength." The latter seems obvious, the old "role model" solution, but the pervasiveness and dominance of Guyland's values, which are essentially racism and sexism lite, demand a more sweeping response that directly addresses the schoolyard premises on which they're based.
The world of adolescent white males that Kimmel describes puts macho boys in a curious double-bind. "The most common put-down in American high schools today is 'that's so gay,' or calling someone a 'fag,'" he tells us. "The average high school student in Des Moines, Iowa, hears an anti-gay comment every seven minutes -- and teachers intervene only about 3 percent of the time." From Salon Magazine book review called "Dude, Where's My Manhood"
All my guy friends are really hip and don't tend to insist on "boys only" activities even if their wives don't watch quite as much hockey as they do, heh heh. I've know a lot of young men between the author's age group...16-26 and they tend to want ANYBODY's approval and are very female oriented. My daughters friends and my friends tend to be more gender bending. Maybe that's because we tend to come from punk music, my daughters boyfriend is very open and artsy...our family has a lot of gay people in it and lots of gay friends. Is this a Canadian thing? Is it an art crowd thing? I think Stagg would say this is a Candian thing and an art thing. I hope he pipes in here later on...as he hasn't seen this article but it's something we love talking about...I don't think men needing men's approval is a bad thing. It would be negative if it was the only voice men respected though. I don't think that's true. But I do think sometimes any sub group of folks, women included get high strung with each other and get a lot of pleasure out of feeling free to talk about their hobbies without having to justify them. I think this happens with all specialized behaviour from manicures to hockey to fishing to shopping.
I know J.K Rowling said she made "harry Potter" a boy because girls would read about a boy main character but boys don't tend to read about a girl main character...hmm...is David Mamet correct?
About five years ago I was without a place to live and landed up moving into a place with customers at one of my jobs. Yep, I lived in a house with four 25 year old guys. The decor was "contemporary beer" and calzones or rice krispie treats were the meal of the day. It was a really great experience for me (I am not sure why they tolerated an old lady living with them...oh right, money ha!). I did not experience any of the kind of angst suggested by the Salon article...but I don't doubt it's heft though. I just think I tend to be attracted to a certain kind of urban openmindedness. I also used to hang out with lots of musicians (now you be quiet Mister Anchovy!) and have seena lot of "boy stuff"...but always it's been good clean fun. I feel lucky as a woman to have been a "tom boy" and able to see the other side of a "booty call". It's just what you might think it looks like, 20 beer later, boxer shorts and a long list of cell phone numbers!!!
Do you think we have long gotten rid of gender wars? Is David Mamet correct "that women are so low on the social ladder"? Is the battle between sexes passe? Is observing the difference between the way men and women move in the world and talk a "tired" area of exploration? Is pointing out the difference between men and women's needs unenlightened?
Oprah Asked The Question: "Why Do Men Cheat?" The answer? "They need approval and attention".
"The Cheating Gene" at Huffington Post (thanks Uncle Steve!)
Gail Sheehy on Men's Passages
STIFFED by Susan Faludi