The Junior High Locker Room: Where not to learn what it means to be a man

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“What does it mean when a man falls in love with a radiant face across the room? It may mean that he has some soul work to do. His soul is the issue. Instead of pursuing the woman and trying to get her alone, away from her husband, he needs to go alone himself, perhaps to a mountain cabin, for three months, write poetry, canoe down a river, and dream. That would save some women a lot of trouble.” 
― Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book About Men

 

In November, 2013, A group calling itself “Open Carry Texas” showed up  at the Blue Mesa Grill in Arlington, Texas fully armed with semi-automatic pistols, rifles, and other firearms. They wanted to present a strong and intimidating front against a group they believe, wants to limit their liberty. Theses brave men stood shoulder-to-shoulder, weapons poised for immediate response to any hostile move from their sworn enemies.
Who were these sworn enemies, gathered to deserve this flashy show of weaponry and might?

It was four mothers.  – (the latest confrontation between an open-carry gun-rights group and a mothers group advocating gun control that was meeting inside.)

American Psychological Association links ‘masculinity ideology’ to homophobia, misogyny

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” the report warns.

The new “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” defines “masculinity ideology” as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” The report also links this ideology to homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment.

 

What is the macho thinking behind men walking around with big irons on their hips?

Appearances suggest  the use of I’m-tougher-than-you force: “If you block me from using my First Amendment Right I will exercise my Second Amendment Right and use my weapon on you!”
… or something like that.

What is in the mind of someone who feels the need to publicly flaunt personal ownership of a toughness because something frightens him that is not frightening most people who are otherwise civically engaged and active.

Is there a difference?

Well, although we all have that right some of us use common sense that dictates that one need not get tough unless a defense of rights is under literal and immediate physical attack.

Otherwise, being tough is just another concept for wearing macho like a halloween costume. ‘I’m a macho guy who could hurt someone if they hurt my sensitivities.

All I can venture is a perceptual speculation based on all that toughness posturing, behavior and verbiage.

Most of that type appear to be dying to be seen publicly demonstrating the macho.

Most posturers appear to be hoping someone will challenge them so they can then, pardon the expression, boner up.

Most postureres act like they will be disappointed if they don’t get to publicly use their toughness so as to be seen as heroic.

It seems to me that such heroes won’t hesitate to manufacture (imagine) enemies in order to sustain a macho sense that hearkens back to every Wayne or Eastwood movie where the good guy gets to shoot somebody.

Consequently, when you see a self-styled mach man posing in public with a cold hard stare hidden by movie-hero sunglasses you can read in that stone cold facial expression and posturing this message:

“Please! Before it’s too late and I can no longer be and feel heroic!
Please …. somebody make my day!”

But there will not be anything heroic about the posturing bully.

… only a stick horse, plastic chaps and cheap sunglasses trying to cover cowardice, a junior high maturity and a lack of the greatest civic attribute a citizen can offer the country:

“Masculinity ideology,” Skillings said, was important to highlight because it “represents a set of characteristics that are unhealthy for men — men who are sexist or violent or don’t take care of themselves.”

The report addresses the “power” and “privilege” that males have when compared to their female counterparts, but it notes that this privilege can be a psychological double-edged sword.

“Men who benefit from their social power are also confined by system-level policies and practices as well as individual-level psychological resources necessary to maintain male privilege,” the guidelines state. “Thus, male privilege often comes with a cost in the form of adherence to sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men’s ability to function adaptively.”

The guidelines for psychologists outlined in the report include encouraging them to “recognize that masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms”; “understand the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men and on their relationships with others”; and “reduce the high rates of problems boys and men face and act out in their lives such as aggression, violence, substance abuse, and suicide.”

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