Adolescence is a difficult time for everyone. All young people struggle to find themselves and to define their identity. However, while adolescent females struggle to develop their sexuality and identity in a society where they are expected to sexy but not to have sexual feelings of their own, or rather they are supposed to be sexual objects but not sexual subjects (Tolman 153-158), males also face many difficulties because they are very restricted by a need to protect their masculinity by never appearing too feminine or weak. If boys lapse or deviate from the social standards, they risk becoming a target for unrelenting homophobic harassment. In order to avoid this, most young boys work very hard to convince others of their heterosexuality at all costs.
After spending a quarter reading many articles and watching many documentaries, I thought it would be interesting to go back and look at the very first article we read titled “Theoretical Perspectives” by Steven Seidman. Specifically looking at the section titled “Feminism: the gender of sexuality”, the ideas of feminists such as Nancy Chodorow, Adrienne Rich, and Catherine MacKinnon and the relationships between males and females and how they became this way. The ideas of Nancy Chodorow specifically look at the origins of how males and females have gotten to be the way they are today. In The Reproduction of Mothering by Chodorow, she describes that for girls and boys, the mother is often the most loving between the two parents. There is an “extended and intense intimacy between mothers and daughters [resulting] in girls developing a syche that is relationship-oriented. Accordingly, girls tend to connect sex with intimacy and as a means of caring” (Seidman 6). In contrast, boys tend to break away from their mothers at a much earlier age, and come to spend much more time with their “achievement-oriented” (Seidman 7) fathers, hence them becoming more oriented with more characteristics that are described as “masculine”. Chodorow states, “boys’ sexuality tends to be more performance- and body-oriented” (Seidman 7). For this reason, a typical boy activity as a child is going out and playing football with his father, while girls stay inside and play with dolls, a much more “caring” activity than the competition of sports. Looking later in life, she states that, “boys can be intimate, but they will likely express sexual love in terms of the giving and receiving of erotic pleasure” (Seidman 7). For this reason, many females are attracted to boys on a much more emotional level, where boys are characterized to only thinking about sex.
“He says ‘I don’t get it, why are you still a virgin at 24?’
He says ‘I don’t believe you, I’ve seen you walk, virgins don’t walk like that’
He asks ‘Why though? No offence though.’
I ask ‘When was your first time?’
He says ‘I was 12’
He says ‘I know what you’re thinking, that’s too young.’
He says ‘She was older than me.’
I ask ‘How old?’
And he says ‘It’s better that the girl is older, that’s how I learnt all things I know’
He licks his lips.
I ask again ‘How old?’
He says ‘I could use one finger to make you sob’
I ask again ‘How old?’
He says ‘Boys become men in the laps of women, you know?’
He says ‘I’d look after you, you know?’
I laugh, I ask for the last time ‘How old?’
He says ’34.’
He says ‘She was beautiful though and I know what you’re thinking but it’s not like that, I’m a man, I’m a man, I’m a man. No one could ever hurt me’.”
— Warsan Shire, Crude Conversations With Boys Who Fake Laughter Often