Peggy & Liz:
I do agree with you on the public/private behavior issues you have raised.
As Peggy suggests, safety or "feeling safe" is a critical element. We
in our "Men Helping Boys" programs that once the boys felt it was a safe
place to discuss issues the "masks" came off and they "hungered" for
connection and the opportunity to talk about their lives. School, the
classroom and the "street" are often not perceived as safe places. Homes
often are, however. I have had many men tell me that they show and share
their emotions within the safety and comfort of theirs homes, but as soon
they step off the front porch the "guise," the "mask" or the "pose" is
activated. This awareness of their "double lives" is a phenomenon that
men can identify with at some level. Some of the research with preschool
boys has looked at young boys ability to be relational while also "knowing"
when they have to behave "like a boy." Many of the men involved in the
Helping Boys" programs described that as we explored masculinity in
preparation for program development. It speaks to both men's access to
qualities, as well as an acute awareness of what is at stake at they
negotiate themselves in the public sphere.
One of the major questions, of course is, how do we create those safe
in schools; places that support what Gilligan calls "healthy resistance" to
ex role expectations. The idea of fostering that healthy resistance has
been the foundation of many of the programs we have developed for
girls; particularly in the areas of math, science and career development.
believe that it can also apply to how we begin to more directly address
of the needs related to the healthy development of boys. Creating safe
places is paramount.
Thanks for the questions and insight.
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