But what we’ve seen lately are a lot of men who are used to getting their way, and they lose their shit if anything goes wrong. That’s a culture that’s trained them to be that way. And so you have a bunch of very machismo men who have translated their bad-boy private outbursts into embarrassing online outbursts, and it does not go over nearly as well online.
They will see this as proof that Men Can’t Be Men! Whereas I – a man – see that as proof that Some Men Can’t Be Men. They can only be modified toddlers, screaming the worst things they can think of whenever they don’t get their way.
–Ferrett Steinmetz wants boys to be men.
Steinmetz points out that outbursts of aggressive male emotions are normalised and lauded in culture in a way female emotionality (of any kind) isn’t. Just think of basically, like, yanno any film, TV show, comic, or videogame, wherein the climax of any encounter is always the “hero loses his shit” moment.
Even otherwise ostensibly progressive cultural products do this; think Sleepy Hollow, where the universal signifier for It’s The Real Shit Now is Ichabod having a bit of a shout. Compare/contrast to, say, Abbie, whose emotive affect is more consistent across the board–she doesn’t have Ichabod’s “repressed/explosive” dynamic–or Katrina, whose explosive emotionality tends to be “feminine” (i.e. tears instead of rage), and, particularly in Season 2, is portrayed as manipulative and suspect.
And, like, I “get” that this is for the drama/tension and whatever, but… yeah. It’s still very, very gendered.
We talk a lot about the problem of men not being able to “express their emotions”… but that’s not really the case, is it? Men have never had any problem expressing rage, only “feminine” emotions like sorrow, grief, and love. (Many women, meanwhile, struggle with the reverse, unable to find outlets for years of pent-up rage and frustration.)1
- In some respects, I think this is why we often find teenage girls so feral, particularly around the 13-15 age bracket. These girls are old enough to have internalised much of the world’s unfairness, but haven’t quite had the edges of their anger smoothed off by cultural conditioning. Teenage girls are angry, but no more so than adult women. They’re just far better at expressing it. [↩]