An Empathetic Note On “Men Not Being Able To Express Their Feelings”

I under­stand that this has more to do with indi­vid­ual traits matu­ri­ty rather than gen­der (which is why I’ll nev­er be an MRA), but for some rea­son iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics like Feminism seem to mis­con­strue the phe­nom­e­non of “men not being able to express their feel­ings”, tying them up with Patriarchy. How they do it, what they think it means, I won’t get into the details of it because you already know the nar­ra­tive.

But here’s the real­i­ty of it (or at least the var­i­ous facets of it). Masculinity assertive­ness and ratio­nal­i­ty, and aggres­sive­ness doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean vio­lence. A per­son can be vocal­ly aggres­sive, very out­spo­ken, like, say, Richard Dawkins in a debate against Creationists, and still have a calm voice. Or they can go even fur­ther enough to be offen­sive, like Christopher Hitchens, who still argu­ing with a suf­fi­cient­ly agile mind instead of rely­ing on name-call­ing. Some men, like Hitchens, are bold­ly offen­sive, while some oth­ers are com­pas­sion­ate. And both kinds of men, through­out their lives, have had the bur­dens of not hav­ing their own feel­ings under­stood, or express­ing how much they’ve been emo­tion­al­ly wound­ed.
And no, it has noth­ing to do with patri­archy.
In some cas­es, men are told to “deal with it” because they con­ven­tion­al­ly seem to be “the stronger sex”, or — in the case of fem­i­nism — “priv­i­leged gen­der”. In these cir­cum­stances, only the most tan­gi­ble and ratio­nal argu­ments made were ever social­ly “accept­ed”, while their own sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ences are dis­missed as lack­ing any nec­es­sary val­ue. A man express­ing his sin­cere feel­ings besides the “pos­i­tives” would receive much admon­ish­ment from his peers than a woman. A female child’s feel­ings are tak­en more seri­ous­ly than the con­cerns of a male child. A man’s weep­ing wasn’t as pro­duc­tive as a woman’s. Thus, it’s the argu­ments per­tain­ing to “ideas” rather than their “feel­ings” is where men’s ener­gies have his­tor­i­cal­ly been chan­nelled. That’s where you get the tra­di­tion­al assump­tion of mas­culin­i­ty, and it’s hard­ly tox­ic.
Because even beyond these lie more fun­da­men­tal truths:
In major­i­ty of the cas­es, indi­vid­u­als (con­ven­tion­al­ly “men”, but not restrict­ed to men since it’s notice­able in women too) choose to not allow their emo­tions or feel­ings to get in the way of their deci­sion-mak­ing. Why? Because it’s observ­able what hap­pens when a per­son is suf­fi­cient­ly imma­ture to con­trol (not repress) their feel­ings and are grant­ed the priv­i­lege to make deci­sions: You get bad spend­ing, bad design, bad busi­ness, and even war­fare.

Even in social life or rela­tion­ships, a suf­fi­cient­ly mature man may be out­spo­ken, may even be straight­for­ward, but is still like­ly to hide his inner-most feel­ings of pain, anguish, anx­i­ety, etc. not because he is forced to, but because this man knows there are more impor­tant things to wor­ry about than him­self. This man knows that he is not an island. He knows what he feels isn’t impor­tant enough to help enact the change that needs to be enact­ed. He knows his feel­ings can’t bind com­mu­ni­ties togeth­er, eval­u­ate mar­ket sit­u­a­tions, come up with amaz­ing designs, make break­through dis­cov­er­ies in sci­ence, etc. He knows that by express­ing his emo­tions he may even jeop­ar­dize rela­tion­ships, put peo­ple on the defen­sive, and per­haps he him­self may do some­thing imprac­ti­cal that may cause more harm to the sit­u­a­tion than solve any­thing. Because the end goal is worth the sup­pres­sion of pain.

He can’t even tell any­one how much he’s been “hurt”, not because he’s afraid to look weak, but because he either under­stands that they prob­a­bly didn’t mean it or he just doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it and make them feel like vil­lains of his sto­ry. He doesn’t want them to go away. And he cer­tain­ly won’t cry until he has closed the door behind him.

This is emo­tion­al integri­ty. This is mas­culin­i­ty: Taking respon­si­bil­i­ty of one’s feel­ings, and tak­ing the most prac­ti­cal action pos­si­ble instead of feel­ing sor­ry for one­self. I’m not in the posi­tion to say if it’s “right” or “wrong”, but I can say that this is how it’s been, and what we have so far is because of some people’s per­son­al sac­ri­fices that we’ll prob­a­bly nev­er know about.

And I’m not even bull­shit­ting here. You want proof? Examine the tear-ducts of each sex and tell me what you see. Gender Roles may be a social con­struct, but what the tear-ducts sig­ni­fy is a sig­na­ture of our evo­lu­tion­ary past.

And this is why I take issues with Feminism’s con­sis­tent demon­i­sa­tion of men, cam­paigns run to manip­u­late social struc­tures to their assump­tions, and place heav­ier bur­dens on men in gen­er­al, expect­ing them to “suck it up and take it”. In the guise of lib­er­at­ing men from Patriarchy, they make it even worse for men who are increas­ing­ly unable to cope with the dif­fi­cul­ties that evo­lu­tion has grant­ed them, and you get a rapid increase in sui­cide rates, or even some rare men “snap­ping” and com­mit­ting crimes due to the sever­i­ty of their men­tal ill­ness­es.

And nobody talks about this. Men don’t talk about it with the assump­tion that they can, like always, “endure it” and take a more prac­ti­cal approach. Society doesn’t talk about it because, like always, it assumes men are respon­si­ble for it and that Feminism is actu­al­ly doing some­thing good.

I find myself, sit­ting in grief, lis­ten­ing to the num­bers of male deaths tick­ing like a clock. We are cel­e­brat­ing on tombs we don’t know they’re even there.

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