Saturday, June 22, 2002

Breakthrough Book

I'm always into a little light summer reading of the type that suggests we're watching the end of the world as we know it . Terence Real's book I Don't Want To Talk About It: Overcoming The Secret Legacy Of Male Depression is just such a book. It spells the end of patriarchy -- not that we didn't notice that institution melting before our very eyes anyway. Big thanks to Chris Locke for finding it -- Terence Real and Carol Gilligan did joint therapy case histories in her recent book recommended on Rageboy's site.

As a mom of a 7-year-old boy who's right in the throws of being "socialized" into a man, {"Only sissies cry!" "1st graders don't have blankies!") this was particularly incredible to read.

"Boys do not need to be turned into males. They are males. Boys do not need to develop their masculinity. They are masculine, no less than girls are feminine. Once we understand that "masculine identity" is not about an internal structure but rather a socially accepted definition of what it means to be male, then the processes by which we impose those definitions on boys sharpens in clarity. Like the Procrustean bed, like circumcision, the oldest and most common rite of passage throughout the world, boys "become" men by lopping off, or having lopped off, the most sensitive parts of their psychic and, in some cases, physical selves. The passage from boyhood to manhood is about ritual wounding. It is about giving up those parts of the self that do not fit within the confines of the role. It is about pain and the withstanding of pain."