Differences Between Girls And Boys Are Amplified By Culture And Traditions

by Max Weber - Date: 2007-04-06 - Word Count: 820 Share This!

From the very beginning social world turns to boys and girls with different sides. Stereotypes existed in society have a great impact on the process of children's socialization and define its direction. People always encourage or punish children for their streaks of character according to these stereotypes. Boys happen to be under great pressure of society in formation of  proper male behavior.  They usually suffer from too-narrow definition of masculinity.

Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson in their book "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys" reveal all problems concerning boys' emotional world. The authors suppose that differences between girls and boys are amplified by culture and traditions that hold boys to stereotypical ideals. There is no "emotional literacy" for boys in society, only for girls.  This book presents a clear picture of boys from their early childhood through adolescence. It clearly shows us development changes and relationships as well as consequences of popular culture and painful incidents of cruelty. Kindlon and Thompson try to show us the necessity of emotional training of boys and ways of protecting their emotional life.

The first issue I was interested in and considered as valuable is the problem of "culture of cruelty". It consists in full restriction of boys' activity, energy at school, in spite of their being more active by nature than girls. Boys are disciplined more harshly than girls, they are  not allowed to  display  sensitivity, their weak points, warmth, to build up  sympathy, affection, understanding. They have no right to cry. Everyone expects them to be strong, protective, to act tough.

But at the same time just female features such as model behavior, assiduity, painstaking, attention towards others etc., are encouraged at school. Their activities are appraised by contribution to common results, by help to others and so on, sometimes boys even can be chastised for being insensitive and inattentive.  As a result a big contradiction appears that can cause boys' passiveness, giving up activities that are expected to be performed in female form. Boys start thinking that it is better to be  a passive person than "not a man".

Besides boys have no outlet for their emotions and feelings. That's why their emotions can manifest themselves in different ways: aggressive behavior, problems in adulthood, smoking, substance abuse or fighting.   

There are some resolutions of this problem. First of all, we should permit boys to have their internal life, give them approval for all human emotions, teach them to be open about feelings, to be free in expressing them. It is also very important to recognize and accept boys' high activity level. We should provide them with safe environment for expressing themselves and encourage their activity rather than put to shame.

Another interesting issue to discuss is the necessity for boys to develop emotional vocabulary and literacy. Without them boys are not able to restrain such feelings by culture that expects them to be "manly", they can not get through the pressures of society and can find themselves at risk for loneliness, drinking, drug abuse, violence. But emotional vocabulary and literacy give boys the capacity to read and understand their own emotions and feelings as well as others. Boys become emotionally aware, able to  express their emotions openly, they are encouraged being emotional. Developing their emotional vocabulary boys can communicate more efficiently with others and understand them better. Boys become more cheerful, caring members of society.  

There should  be pointed out one of possible resolutions of this problem. For instance, it consists in distinguishing the notions of courage and absence of fear, empathy and feeling sorry for someone. We should teach boys that courage is just a resistance to fear, and empathy means understanding and accepting person's feelings.

 This insight really made me understand adolescent emotional behavior. I understood that boys are eager to express their emotions and feelings, they long to be open, to comprehend themselves and others, but the problem is that they don't know how to do it, and they rather prefer to hide their feeling than to express them. I became aware that each boy craves people's love and acceptance, but he has to conceal it because of stereotypes existed in society.  

This insight will be really useful for me while my  working with students at the secondary level. Because I already know that it's very important to recognize boys' feelings, to affirm their dreams. In order to bring up a person who will respect and understand people, who will be open to them, we should create a nurturing environment for expressing their emotions, we should speak to their soul and teach boys to be able to express the full range of human feelings. The main thing I understood is that working with male students, we must always just hear them, understand and respect, as when boys are respected and understood they become emotionally encouraged and more open to their parents, teachers, their peers.  

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Related Tags: culture, by, traditions, girls, boys, and, are, differences, between, amplified

Max is a freelance writer at custom essay writing service


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