Fawning while male: breaking gender stereotypes

“You’re a Momma’s Boy!”

Oh, the things we say!

Why do we tell boys not to cry, not to show emotions or weakness?

Are we trying to protect them? From what?

One answer: a harsh world, a dog-eat-dog world. We are training Spartans who can “win the fight.”

One of the reasons I love the film Fight Club: the men who join the underground movement don’t know how to fight. They were raised to follow rules and buy shit. They start fighting to feel something. The men who show up are looking for a new path.

When we say, “you’re a Momma’s boy,” we are talking about Fawning. Momma’s boys are too weak to survive on their own. They cower from their own shadow. Momma’s boys are losers.

Labeling you a Momma’s boy tattoos your vulnerability on your forehead. You are equated with being feminine or queer.

When we raise a boy, we feel compelled to gender-ize everything. And we attach a heteronormative label to everything, too. Heteronormity is the social rule that puts heterosexuality forward as the norm and consigns every other sexual orientation as not normal, including being queer, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual.

We make sure that boys know exactly where the minefields are and then we demand that they memorize a map of every one! Here is a map of the gay minefield and the transgender minefield and the feminine minefield. We also have maps of minefields for all kinds of emotions and vulnerabilities that we label as unmanly and not straight.

Oh, I could go on….

I have lots more to say, specifically about “fawning while male.” Fawning is one of five reactions that our central nervous system chooses when we perceive a threat: fight/flight/freeze/fawn/flop.

photo credit: Ben Hershey/Unsplash