When a drought hits in Africa the animals head for the few spots that still have available water. I think we have something similar happening in the US today where we have a drought of masculinity. Two places where the masculine still exists are in sports and gaming. Both these spots offer a masculine environment where competition is the norm and competition rules. Those who practice harder and are more skilled are rewarded, those who are not, aren’t. Both these spots lack the politically correct mentality, affirmative action and censorship of interaction. Boys flock to these places.
Compare this with our schools where 6 year old boys are being expelled for kissing a 6 year old girl or a 7 year old boy is suspended for fashioning his breakfast pastry into a gun and pointing it at someone. Our schools are dominated by the feminine and by women who have a natural inclination to, understand girls. They were one. Boys? All too often the thinking is that the boys just need to learn to be more like the well behaved and attentive girls.
The erroneous assumption that many people fall prey to is that we are all a blank slate at birth and then are molded by our socialization. The media and our colleges have been spreading this one-sided notion for nearly 50 years. This leaves us asking the question “Why can’t the boys just act like the girls?” If we are all just blank slates that should be easy. But guess what? Boys are not like the girls, at least most of them. They have different bodies, different dreams, different hormones, different brains, different desires and on and on. Young boys generally don’t dream of getting married and having babies, they more often dream of being a dominant sports hero or an explorer, an astronaut, or some other dream that may tickle his well developed fantasy life. And boys are unique in so many other ways.
And the beat goes on in expecting boys to be like girls around all of the feeling stuff. Lots of feeling stuff. Boys should be in touch with their feelings! Just like the girls! This drives the boys nuts. They live in bodies that are not tuned to frequencies that are dominated by feelings. More likely they are interested in actions. Most women, of course, don’t have a clue about this difference and wonder why these boys are not “dealing with their feelings,”™ just like they do, just like the girls do. Sometimes they will even ask the boys why they are not “dealing with their feelings?” But wait, have you ever seen a man ask boys something similar? Probably not. Why not? Because men grew up as boys and know that the boy’s bio-computer is not set on that frequency. The lack of having any understanding males in schools is a real problem where boys live in an environment that is all too often clueless about their nature.
Just imagine a school that was run by men. Men were the teachers, men were the administrators, the coaches, the guidance counselors, the cafeteria workers, etc. The focus of the schools was on winning and only on winning. Feelings were not important since they were not connected with winning. In fact those who shared feelings were punished. It was a distraction. Now imagine that all girls in the US had to go through that system over the last 50 years. What would it do to girls?
In todays feminized schools competition has become a no-no. Guess what? Boys thrive on competition. Ever been to a cub scout meeting and watched what happens? The boys compete and they love it. One of the mainstays of the meetings used to be competitive games. No matter that someone loses, its the excitement of wanting to come in first and excel that matters. I remember my own and my son’s scouting experience with things like the pinewood derby where all of the boys built a small wooden race car and then competed. It was great sport. Did my daughter do anything similar in brownies? Absolutely not, her groups were focused on relational events, not competitive events. As I remember the Brownies had a “Brownie Circle” and a “Friendship Circle” with the emphasis being on friendship and relating. I am guessing that things have changed in todays pc world of gender cleansing and the boys are being forced to be more relational. Just a guess. Let’s hope they are having fun competing
Now our schools are promoting the relational and pure competition is going the way of the dodo bird. There is a very feminine push to see everyone as winners and no one as losers. This has crippled many of our students from missing out on the experience of losing and learning how to both respond to and handle losing. If we don’t help our youngsters by practicing losing we are limiting them. We all need plenty of practice losing and sometimes losing big. This is exactly what helps bring maturity and it is exactly what our culture tries to insulate away from our children.
There’s a private boys school outside of Washington DC that uses boys’ competitive nature to help in both deportment and scholarship. They divided the school into two groups. The Blues and the Whites. When you enroll in that school you are assigned either to the white or the blue team. From that point forward everything you do creates points for or against your team. If you get kicked out of class your team suffers, if you get straight A’s your team benefits. If you excel in sports or extra-curricular activities your team gets points. The rivalry is fierce. The boys push each other to get more points and when they have more points they get both special privileges and bragging rights. Needless to say, the boys do much of the policing of acting out behaviors and the grades are top notch. Compare this to our default public school that has removed competition from the curriculum. Things have become increasingly buffered from all things competition. The focus is not on who is first, second and third, the focus is on getting along, being nice to each other etc.
This competitive nature of boys and men is not new. Men have been competing against each other for thousands of years and for good reason. As men compete they join in the battle for status. When we win an event our status goes up, when we lose, our status goes down. Men strive to keep their status up. This is the world in which boys and men live. At least most of them. This is the world of striving for status. And why is it so important for boys to strive for status? Because their life depends on it. The higher their status the more likely they will be successful and the more likely they will find reproductive success. This has been a goal of men for thousands of years, to be the one who gets the girl and then has a family and excels. This is partly why boys practice competing as youngsters. They are preparing for later in life. This is why they HAVE TO GET TO LEVEL 17 in their video game! It’s all about status.
You can see something very similar in the animal world. Usually it is the young males of a species that are involved in rough and tumble play. Scientists have found that the play of young animals is usually practice for the skills they will need later in life. I think we can see something similar in human boys and girls. The research is very clear that boys when very young tend to prefer toys like trucks and guns while young girls prefer dolls. The socialization crowd heard of this research and claimed it was still socialization but just not overt. Then the researchers did a study on chimpanzee boys and girls and their toy choice and guess what they found? They found that the little boy chimps preferred the trucks and guns and the little girls chimps preferred the dolls. The scientists failed to detect any behaviors from the older monkeys to try and stop the boys play with guns or the girls play with dolls. They seemed to just let them be. Perhaps we have something to learn from these monkeys?
Do Girls Compete?
Well, yes, but it is not quite the same. Girls don’t compete with each other to gain status just like the boys, they instead, are the ones who “choose.” The girls watch the men compete, they watch the men who have gotten status and they decide (choose) who they will mate with. How many times have we heard the phrase a woman’s choice or women have choice. Think back, have you ever heard the phrase a man’s choice or men have choice? Not so much. Remember too, that girls are sometimes born with status. Very attractive women and girls have immediate status that is completely unrelated to their accomplishments or actions, it is instead related to their attractiveness which is due not to their efforts but to their genetics. They may have to do things to keep up their attractiveness like watch their weight or work out but the heavy lifting of being attractive is something she was born with. A young woman who has symmetrical facial features, the right ratio of hips to waist, and well developed breasts is born with something that men and boys find irresistible. She knows this and is very aware of how to leverage her attractiveness to manipulate the males. Unlike the boys, this characteristic is not something she has had to work for, this is something she was born with. I can’t think of any similar process in boys. The boys don’t have a clue what it would be like to be wanted and desired simply due to a part of their body being a certain way. Boys are very aware that they succeed by gaining status and that is just what they do.
Then there is the issue of exercise. The schools in their race away from competition and masculinity have taken away yet another thing that boys need in order to function: they have taken away exercise. How you ask? They have stopped recess where traditionally boys have gotten at least 30 minutes of running and jumping to calm their bio-computers. But no, recess has been either cut or diminished. In a feminine environment it is just not as important a sitting still.
I can remember when I was in school many years ago that the gym teachers and coaches took a similar approach to discipline. They were usually pretty tough but the punishment was almost always doing something physical. Take a lap Golden! That meant I had done something wrong and my punishment was to run one quarter mile. I was also banished from the game for that time while my friends played on. Another similar punishment was having to do a certain number of push ups. Give me 20 Golden! Where is the wisdom in this? Well, the coaches knew that what the boys needed was a workout and they were more then happy to give it to them if they acted out. What seemed like a punishment was actually a therapeutic act. This is exactly what a disobedient young man needs. He needs to run! In today’s feminized schools punishments are doled out but I would bet that very few are physical.
Then when these young men can’t run and jump they sit in classrooms and get fidgety and can’t sit still. The girls can sit still and since we are all equal™ shouldn’t the boys be able to do it? Of course they should! Since the boys don’t and won’t then they are just being impudent and stubborn. We need to force them to act more like the well behaved girls. Those darn boys just won’t do it! We can make them do it, let’s medicate them!
And that is another story.
NOTE – I heard via twitter that some psychology classes are using this post for class. I want to thank them for that and also thought I would leave some references that back up the ideas presented in this post. All too often the research that is done that helps us understand boys and men gets a back seat. Most people simply don’t hear about it. The lace curtain is strong on plow. lol
Here are a couple of references that help explain boys competitiveness, activity differences, and importantly the 50 year old research driven facts about testosterone in utero. For those of you who don’t know…boys, that is most boys, get a flood of testosterone in utero that changes their brain and their psychology for life. Here’s a link to an abstract from an article by Melissa Hines a top hormone researcher on the impact of prenatal testosterone:
Notice they say very clearly that this flood makes the boys more aggressive, more interested in rough and tumble and coalitional play, impacts his core sexual identity and his sexual orientation. Chew on that for a while and understand this all happens prior to birth. here’s the cite for her excellent book.
Hines, Melissa, Michaela Constantinescu, and Debra Spencer. “Early Androgen Exposure and Human Gender Development.” Biology of Sex Differences 6.1 (2015): n. pag. Web.
Read up on the latest research on testosterone and see that they are junking the old idea that testosterone was the root of aggressiveness and are now thinking that testosterone is focused on STRIVING FOR STATUS. You know, that competitive stuff the article discussed. um, yeah. Check out this article on T
Tom Golden is the author or three books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, The Way Men Heal, and Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: UnderStanding the Unique World of Boys. Tom was the creator of the youtube channel Men Are Good and served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. He has been a therapist in private practice for over 30 years.