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Why are young men so angry these days?
This is going to be one of my most controversial posts, which I expect to generate a fair bit of heated discussion in the comments below. In this post, I attempt to explain the case of contemporary young men's anger towards society and life in general, and how the Angry Young Man stereotype came into existence. It should come as no surprise that men in contemporary Western society are more likely to be the perpetrators of crimes involving physical violence, which explains the higher male-to-female ratio within contemporary prison. The simplistic explanation is that men are just naturally more violent than women (PS testosterone, the man hormone! Oh I've got tons of it, I get them through my barbell squats). On the other hand, if you subscribe to the notion that gender is socially constructed, you cannot also validly subscribe to the notion that men are just naturally more violent than women. I personally don't consider Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Empress Wu, Margaret Thatcher etc to be a bunch of gentle little lambs who despised physical/verbal aggression. You see, it took me a few years of repressed femininity before I finally realized that as men, our forms of gender expression are, well.. Extremely restrictive. It's as if women's roles are becoming wider and more diverse, and men are still stuck within the traditional Western sphere of gender expression. Any man who dares bring up the notion of "men's issues" is immediately rebuked and reminded that "as a man, you're still over-privileged." I once had a (guy) friend who could be described as something of a feminist. And by God he was one of the most sanctimonious self-righteous hypocrites I ever knew (feminists please note I am not necessarily referring to you). If you tell him that men's acceptable roles of gender expression are extremely rigid, so to speak, he would reply with, "Oh, I don't think so; man, on a beach a woman still has to wear a bra, while a man can go completely topless! AND, women still get paid less than men! So if you say things like that, you are gonna offend a lot of people, etc" OH DEAR GOD AARON (not his real name), that was NOT EVEN THE BLOODY POINT (grabs and yanks hair in frustration)! My point was that women have won the right to wear pants and suits, even to formal occasions (I use the term "even" because a hundred years ago it would be considered anaethema for a woman to wear a pair of trousers/suit to a formal dinner). Women have won the right to take part in traditionally men's sports (e.g. Thai Boxing, Gymnastics, etc) and that is all very good! Except that... As a contemporary man, your forms of valid self expression relative to women's is EXTREMELY restricted and repressive. Many men are happy to adhere like sheep to their rigid, socially-prescribed gender roles, but for boys and men like myself, we've discovered that we cannot express who we truly are to the world without experiencing a considerable degree of social stigma. And to be honest, we're very, very pissed off. Okay, without further ado, let us get the ball rolling!
I am angry because:
- Out there are tons of little boys out there who just want to wear a dress, and nobody seems to give a rat's ass. In fact, I even came across a case of a little boy who just wanted to wear pretty feminine things, but was treated by his parents' psychiatrist as a psychological nutjob, when a little girl in a pair of jeans and a singlet/T-shirt (traditionally male garments) wouldn't cause anybody to bat an eyelid.
This article really pissed me the hell off. If anything, the poor boy's mother has only ended up temporarily silencing an innate aspect of his personality. She hasn't really solved anything! I imagine the boy will grow up with a strong sense of repression and self-loathing. He is being socially conditioned to despise himself, despite the fact that there should ideally be no shame in what he wants to do. It's not as if he wants to rape or kill anyone, or torture harmless little animals for that matter!
- While women are encouraged by liberal society to explore all aspects of their personality, men unfortunately do not receive the same kind of encouragement. Back at Adelaide, I was trained in Muay Thai by a woman, so please don't get the mistaken notion that I am against women exploring every aspect of their personality. Unfortunately, it seems that women are now treating men in the same way as they were treated a hundred years ago! Now, it seems that a man has to "ask his wife's permission" (out of 'respect' for her) before he puts on a dress/skirt. I don't ever recall a woman who had to ask her husband's permission before putting on a suit/pair of jeans. In fact, there are cases of men whose wives "allow" them to cross dress, which to me is ridiculous because if the reverse were the case, the feminist community would go crazy! Hell, I'M going crazy right now! In fact, I met this woman yesterday who had the cheek to declare that "men should not wear women's clothes. They don't look good in them. I personally like gay men because they make an effort to take care of themselves and dress well". Honey, just because you like gay men doesn't mean you aren't a flipping transphobe. By that token, I could say, "I like lesbian women if they make an effort to dress well, but I only like the lipstick ones. Women like Ellen Degeneres look terrible; they don't make an effort to dress well!" Homophobia in this case is not the issue; just because you aren't homophobic certainly does not absolve you of being transphobic. I mean, you have the right not to like something, I personally am not attracted to Ellen physically, but by associating "gender non-conformist" with "slob", you are essentially expressing a form of politically correct transphobia. Besides, how would you like it if I (hypothetically) said, "Style is very important to men. You have to make an effort to dress well if you want to hook a good man. So that means no trousers and no sneakers, because real women aren't afraid to show off their legs and wear high heels!" See what I mean?
- Men's body issues are largely ignored by modern Western society. Feminists will often say something along the lines of "Oh, men don't suffer as much as women in regard to these things, and fat men don't have as much social stigma as fat women!" As a man, that personally offends me. You see, I have earlier back discussed the notion of male body self-loathing (http://bereniceteh90.hubpages.com/hub/The-myth-of-the-Ugly-Male-Body). Basically we live in a world dominated by Calvin Klein and Abercrombie ads, which promote an unrealistic body image (for some men; doubtless, there are men who have naturally low levels of body fat, just like there are women who have naturally low levels of body fat). The media has at least began to acknowledge that female beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and that is reflected in the plus-sized modelling industry with beautiful women such as Lizzie Miller, Crystal Renn, etc. But where the hell are all the plus-sized male models? Surely male beauty ALSO comes in different shapes and sizes, but nobody seems to want to acknowledge that fact with people like Rusty Moore of Visual Impact Muscle Building spewing sh*t like "six pack abs are so much more impressive than being able to squat 300lbs!" Well what about "blue eyes and blonde hair are so much more "impressive" than brown eyes and black hair?, Mr Moore? You see, so many young men these days believe that for their bodies to be construed as attractive by women, they must strive for that "ripped" ideal espoused by Visual Impact Muscle Building, just like at one point, Asian women believed that they had to strive for that Anglo-Saxon ideal for men to desire them physically. To me, that's total and utter bullshit. That's like saying that Kate Moss has a better body than Marilyn Monroe, when they are DIFFERENT, not necessarily better than the other. I haven't got a six pack but I think my body is no less beautiful in the female gaze from my cousin's (who has a rippling six pack), just like Marilyn Monroe is considered no less beautiful than Megan Fox; just different. Hopefully the media will start acknowledging that.
-Women have now won the right to form "women-only lounges", "women-only gyms", "women-only clubs", etc. Personally I wouldn't encourage my daughter to patronize any of those businesses. In my opinion, any business that excludes ANYONE on the basis of gender (male or female), sexuality (gay or straight or trans-gendered), religion, nationality or ethnicity should be boycotted. Personally I'm a libertarian, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that they should be banned, as that would essentially betray my libertarian principles. But I would definitely encourage (not force) people to boycott any business with such an exclusive policy. It's funny how the term "women-only club" doesn't spark as much outrage as the term "whites-only club". Go back a hundred years in the bad old days, when it was not only socially acceptable, but fashionable as well, for white people to discriminate against "coloured" people. In fact, the American wife of King George V famously referred to people of African American descent as "lazy thriving n*ggers". The late contemporary feminist Andrea Dworkin referred to men as "rapists, and heterosexual intercouse as rape". It's funny that "whites-only clubs" and "women-only clubs" are not seen in the same degree of severity, despite the fact that the two of them are really the moral equivalent of each other.
Well, I suppose that wraps up my angry little rant. If you want to leave a hate-filled comment below, please feel free to do so. It'd be interesting to see what kind of comments this hub generates. It's not that I'm trying to absolve male criminals for the crimes they have committed, but I feel that by trying to understand how societal repression can have an effect on an individual's self esteem and sanity, we can perhaps try to curb the problem by attacking it from an angle we haven't yet explored: By encouraging the boys to be the best they can be rather than to try to be someone else in order to fit into some cookie-cutter mould that society has prescribed for us.