I do not claim to vouch for my entire kind. Never, for humanity is too diverse, individuality too intricate, and circumstance too varied for me to do so. Let me start, then, by establishing who the Teenage Boy is:
This teenage boy is a lover who’s never been loved the way he longs to be loved, but has experienced all other forms of it. He is a fighter who hasn’t fought the fight he wants to fight, but has fought other types. He has strong convictions and weak walls, wishes much benediction and little condemnation, is open-minded and conservative all the same. He is too American for the “Muslim” but too Muslim for the “American;” stagnant terms for ever-changing labels, dams on a fluid river of identity. He is too political for ignorance and woefully apathetic for punditry. He is–I am–all over the place.
I really am. My blog is a direct indicator of that. Well, lately I’ve been very touchy-feely and emotional, totally against the macho archetype for my sex (no euphemism here, sorry parents and elder cousins). But otherwise my blog is wherever my mind takes it. This piece is supposed to be about my frailty as a male and what we pre-adult males refuse to acknowledge as such as a result of this strictly defined gender-role in popular society.
No, I’m not spitting in the face of gender-role progressiveness. They are very much there, regardless of what the femiNazis and Alt-Knights would have you believe. However, they are not to the scale as was during the War of 1812 (the novel I’m reading now shows stark parallels to our oilfields’ cultures: formality, segregation, extra modesty, and taboo as in the Middle East). A woman can and should walk (or drive) where she wills without chaperone. A man can and should stay home to take care of children. But not all women and men do so, as that is dependent on their respective cultures, families, and circumstances.
So yes, there may be that hard ass warfighter who drinks straight whiskey like we do soda, the most masculine image we can conjure up in our minds, and that Barbie girl who wears all the cosmetics and follows all the mommy-and-me blogs, the quintessential image of femininity, but there is also the artist who’s warzone is a canvas and a racer who’s “minivan” goes faster than any production vehicle.
The faux wokeness gives way to the point, surrounded thus far by fluff: I am male, masculine, yes, but that does not change the vestige of femininity, emotions, that exist in me. I’m written off as wuss or gay by the “toxic masculinity” that my friends have adopted as their own, where being genuine and allowing the tears to flow is weakness and “game” and gruffness is strength.
Really, it sounds as if I’m saying emotions are feminine. They’re not, but our societal frameworks have equated maternity with positive emotions such as love and kindness, understanding and empathy, and paternity with discipline and anger, vigor and ruggedness. Our fathers love us and are kind to us, understand us and empathize with us (sometimes) and our mothers discipline and get angry with us, too, but those roles are defined starkly as this way and that.
Despite being accused of the aforementioned toxicity, I’m not. It entails homophobia, sexism, vulgarity, and brashness. My Islam does not make me homophobic even if I do not condone it. I am not against women even if I am an up and coming man. OK, I’m pretty vulgar, but not rude or demeaning. Yeah, I like guns and martial arts, and those things could be considered “male” (not my beliefs, by the way), but a tool or skill cares not who uses it, only how it is used. I’ve never harmed anyone with my guns and chokes nor ever will.
Not really confessions, I guess. Just nerd-babble.