The Pampering of the American Man
It’s tough to see privilege when it’s all we have ever known and no one has ever pointed out how it works in our Life. Moreover, when we see other Men being applauded and rewarded for acting childish, it bends our sense of reality. Men have gotten away with being emotionally immature for a very long time and our defensive strategy is to “play dumb” and pretend like we don’t understand.
“Me? No, I don’t do that. I don’t punish others through passive-aggressive comments, restricting eye contact, dismissal, avoidance, and covert blame. I am certainly not the one who manipulates others by collapsing into pity and gaslighting those who challenge me.”
The privilege isn’t written into the law. The privilege is in the power dynamics that get played out in marriages, business relationships, and societal norms. Our comfort blanket is our “free pass” to act like little boys.
And, what does a young child do when someone wants to take their blanket away? They get kick, yell, name call, and run away. Those are the only tools they have in their toolbox. If a boy never learns new skills, they will still act like same little kid in a man’s body.
The unfortunate part about this approach is that it works! It works really well! Grown men are a lot scarier than little boys and they know how to move their weight around. We are physically dominant, we hold positions of power, and we have money. We are the religious leaders, the bank owners, the bread winners, and the loudest voices in the room.
The “pampering” we’ve received is the lack of challenge. It looks like others walking on egg shells around us, fearing that we will either disconnect or blow up. It looks like other Men colluding with each other in the belief that “we know better”. It looks like denying our history of violence, oppression, and the fear that has been passed down. We don’t notice that this is happening because we don’t have to. It’s easier to turn a blind eye than it is to challenge the status quo.
If we want to grow up, we have some work to do. We have to start calling OURSELVES out, calling our fellow Men out, learning new relationship skills, and sorting out our patterns. I’m pulling my head out of the sand and using my voice.
Who’s with me?
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