Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boys Don't Cry (and they don't take showers with grown men)

Once, DH and I were at a family event and his 7-year-old nephew was trying to lean on him. He made the boy get up. Later, when I questioned what I thought was unnecessary meanness, he told me the boy was too old to be laying up against a man like that. I relayed this incident to a male friend and he, too, agreed, sharing that his young nephew (the age escapes me, but he was younger than 7) had rested his hand on my friend's leg once and he promptly picked it up and moved it. Apparently, the end age for male touching comes pretty early in a boy's life.

So, a grown man--an unrelated grown man, especially-- taking a naked shower with a 10-year-old boy is just not supposed to be done. Even if and especially if it is "just horseplay." Come on, Jerry Sandusky, you have got to do better than that. As one of Herman Cain's accusers advised of him, just tell the truth so everyone can move forward.



The Steel Magnolia said...

You're right, TD. In many ways, I lament the way in which boys are so quickly pushed into a tight box of gender conditioning. I'm sure that all of that fosters the isolation and repressed emotion that turns into the kind of unproductive behavior for which boys are both punished and rewarded later. That aside, this Sandusky mess is total BS. Any grown person who thinks that naked horseplay--alone, in a shower--is no big deal, has a problem. And I don't believe this nut thinks that it's no big deal either. I mean, ask any man around you if he's sexually attracted to young boys; does he scream "No" inside of 3 seconds? How long does it take this sociopath to sort of, kind of say no? Total BS . . . .

Anonymous said...

Well, as a man, the "touchy feely" sentiment with boys is too closely associated with homosexuality. With the hyper-masculinity that drives male identity in westernized, patriarchal societies, a boy has too much to lose to consent to his desire to be "cuddled" by a grown man. Boys learn very early on the rules of masculinity- never show weakness, be independent, your masculinity is constantly contested by other men, etc.

Now, does this translate into repression and dysfunction later on? I don't think it has to, and if it does, it is coupled with other issues (with attachment, development, and self concept). I think, though, the issue with the nephews is just a matter of trying to be that anchor for masculinity (especially if the boys are being raised by single mothers who may not understand this dynamic) that the boys will at least have to understand as they get older, even if they do not agree or accept.