1. Main obstacles Men face when growing up
Before diving into what it means to be a male member of a minority group in Western society. What the hell are we even talking about ? Don’t we all grow differently and are unique in our own special way ?
In short yes, for certain traits but there are many common components to our “unique” story because this little helpless thing needs to learn to survive before anything else.
We are born into this world with like a pre-written story we follow. The story just allows us to become a functioning adult member of the community.
For the young man, the first main goal is learning how to Explore the world around him safely. Meaning he has an attachment figure around which he feels safe and that he will come back to when he gets frightened or injured exploring. When calm, he will go back to explore a bit further and so on and so forth.
It seems trivial but look at your life and remark how true it is. Be it to school and back, to friends and back, … we stay young a long time nowadays.
The objective is for the young man to gain experience AND confidence through his exploration. The confidence aspect is one on which I will touch in chapter 2 as well.
I think this sentence from a lawyer specialized in defending men in divorce explains best what I am trying to get at.
“Wives often use the argument that the father does not know any of the child's teachers names or friends. Which is often the case. But when they are asked what is their child's biggest fear, they often do not know but the father does.” Both genders accomplish a role in the young man’s exploration of the world.
Without the right attachment figures (mother and father), this exploration process can yield less than optimal results. Independently, these results will determine part of what kind of man he becomes.
1.2 Playing with others
Second objective is learning to Play With Others, when children are young there is no perceived difference between gender and race. Boys will play with girls and color of skin bothers no one at that age. Children will invent and play games together to understand the body they are growing into and the fundamentals of social interaction.
Confidence comes again into play here and will determine the level of social anxiety the young man will feel when engaging with others. If confidence starts low, actions are more sparse, lessons a not as numerous and therefore social interactions can become a source of anxiety.
Think of it as a scale, I am not talking about social anxiety as a mental illness. We all have it, just at different degrees of intensity.
On one side you have the young man with no attachment figures that was left in a room his whole life (confidence low => low social interactions => high social anxiety) and on the other, a young man with both attachment figures brought up in a diverse and positive environment.
The result of these two first major steps, the young man has to take, will have cascading impact on how he will approach the next obstacles in his life. And we are still in a child phase without Libido, territory to defend and recognition of threats.
Next up: 1.3 Libido