Friday, August 02, 2013

Rigidly repressing my lack of emotions

Man! Manly! Manly men! I'm fuddy-duddyish enough to think that the word 'man' is not only a simple way to describe one gender but is still a perfectly good word to describe the whole of homo sapiens. Good luck with that argument in today's internet, where the generic term is now even more generic than it used to be: we're all 'people', thank you very much.

But anyway. That aside, it seems you can't go anywhere these days without a man mansplaining man-flu to another manly man while trying hard not to hurt his man-feelings, all of which things are things, even when (in the case of man-flu and man-feelings) they're not really. That doesn't make much sense. Nor does the fact that He-Man, who (as his name would suggest) is a very manly man indeed but in spite of the virile masculinity exerting from his every testosterone-drenched pore, doesn't seem to have any pubic hair at all. What's with that, He-Man?

Speaking of man-flu and man-feelings, I was reading this article the other day about a 'crisis of manhood'. (There can be few greater pleasures in a man's day than reading about a 'crisis', or even better a 'scandal' or, best of all, 'a catastrophe about to engulf us all'; it gives me such a pleasing tingle in my man-pleasure centre.) It seems filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom is finishing off a documentary about "the myths of modern manhood" and is looking for "finishing funds" on Kickstarter. "It shouldn’t need to be said, but here goes once more for old time’s sake: masculinity is a feminist issue", writes Clem Bastow, "The model of masculinity that insists that men are not allowed to feel or show emotion is a patriarchal construct. And isn’t the patriarchy what we all banded together to fight in the first place?"

Speak for yourself, Bastow, I reckon. Personally I like nothing more than a bit of good old fashioned emotional repression, a spot of not-talking-about-my-feelings, and a reviving dose of bottling-it-all-up. Why would I talk about my feelings when I can just let my feelings get on and feel things anyway? It seems much more efficient that way. Plus, I have an inkling that getting someone like me to talk about my feelings would be a fraught exercise at best - like the Catholic kid in the confessional inventing sins as a better exchange for the mundane sins that they have actually committed (and/or completely forgotten about) , I reckon I'd just get an urge to start making stuff up. Of course it's hard to compete, poetically speaking, with the likes of Shelley - "I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed!" - but I'm sure I could work my way up to it.

Talk about my feelings? I've never heard greater nonsense in my life. It seems to me there's an element of prescriptive psychology about all this: filmmaker Newsom, having determined that the lack of emotions that boys are rigidly repressing are wrong, has set out to talk to a bunch of psychologists and sociologists and teachers who think they know what the right emotions are that boys should be experiencing. The end result may not be a society of emotionally articulate men - it may be a society of men acting out emotions to get responses from others.

That's enough out of me. I've got to rigidly repress ten more emotions before dinner, and I've hardly begun on the first one. 


thewaysheworetime said...

'... it may be a society of men acting out emotions to get responses from others.'
So pretty much like any manipulative man one might presently meet?

TimT said...

Actually YES.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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