Too often, boys are encouraged to believe that they must cut themselves off from nurturing, empathetic and intimate behaviour to become fully masculine. As long as we tolerate these assumptions in the name of normal masculinity and femininity, then we will find it tough to challenge the culture of sexual violence.
We might wish it were not so but mammalian then primate evolution has led us to this pretty pass where the adolescent male just ain’t greatly into nuture, empathy and intimate behaviour.
This is one of the things that has so often amused me about what I might rather grandly call “the left”. It tends to be religious conservatives who deny evolution itself, that “left” that stridently (and correctly) points out that we really are here as a consequence of a 4 billion year long chain of near random events.
What amuses is that it’s then that “left”, as here, that soundly ignores all of the implications of that assertion. Yes, we’re here with all sorts of things that perhaps are undesirable: vermiform appendices, sickle cell anaemia and gargantually selfish and sex mad young males. Because this evolution thing hasn’t left each child as a blank slate upon which society can write as it wishes. It’s left us with certain hormonal responses, certain hard wired behaviours (Good God, even Chomsky states that the capacity for grammar is hard wired into us, it being only the form of it that differs). Some of which might not be desirable given the blueprint of society that some would wish to impose.
But they’re still impulses that are there, whatever your vision.
Which produces another level of amusement: it’s generally a rather conservative idea that children are little beasts and it’s society’s duty to tame and train them into some semblance of a civilised being. That training having to be a constant and supervised repression of those undesirable urges and impulses.
All of which does amuse me in a wry, possibly even dry, manner. This “left” calls for writing upon children as if all can be changed just through education and societal pressure. Entirely denying the implications of the evolution that created us. We’re flawed beings and there’s just no damn point in pretending that the flaws aren’t there. The trick is the management of them, not the ignoring.