Tim Winton on boys

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Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 18:13

A beautiful read. Deserves it's own thread.

About the boys: Tim Winton on how toxic masculinity is shackling men to misogyny
In an excerpt from a speech about his new book The Shepherd’s Hut, the author says it is men who need to step up and liberate boys from the race, the game, the fight

I don’t have any grand theory about masculinity. But I know a bit about boys. Partly because I’m at the beach and in the water a lot.

As a surfer you spend a lot of time bobbing about, waiting for something to happen. So eventually, you get talking. Or you listen to others talking. And I spend my work days alone, in a room with people who don’t exist, so these maritime conversations make up the bulk of my social life. And most of the people in the water are younger than me, some by 50 years or more.

I like the teasing and the joking that goes on, the shy asymmetrical conversations, the fitful moments of mutual bewilderment and curiosity. A lot of the time I’m just watching and listening. With affection. Indulgence. Amusement. Often puzzled, sometimes horrified. Interested, but careful, of course, not to appear too interested. And the wonderful thing about getting older – something many women will understand – is that after a certain age you become invisible. And for me, after years of being much too visible for my own comfort, this late life waterborne obscurity is a gift.

There are a lot more girls in the water these days, and hallellujah for that; I can’t tell you how heartening this is. But I want to focus on the boys for a moment. For what a mystery a boy is. Even to a grown man. Perhaps especially to a grown man. And how easy it is to forget what beautiful creatures they are. There’s so much about them and in them that’s lovely. Graceful. Dreamy. Vulnerable. Qualities we either don’t notice, or simply blind ourselves to. You see, there’s great native tenderness in children. In boys, as much as in girls. But so often I see boys having the tenderness shamed out of them.

Boys and young men are so routinely expected to betray their better natures, to smother their consciences, to renounce the best of themselves and submit to something low and mean. As if there’s only one way of being a bloke, one valid interpretation of the part, the role, if you like. There’s a constant pressure to enlist, to pull on the uniform of misogyny and join the Shithead Army that enforces and polices sexism. And it grieves me to say it’s not just men pressing those kids into service.

These boys in the surf. The things they say to me! The stuff I hear them saying to their mates! Some of it makes you want to hug them. Some of it makes you want to cry. Some of it makes you ashamed to be a male. Especially the stuff they feel entitled or obliged to say about girls and women.

What I’ve come to notice is that all these kids are rehearsing and projecting. Trying it on. Rehearsing their masculinity. Projecting their experimental versions of it. And wordlessly looking for cues the whole time. Not just from each other, but from older people around them, especially the men. Which can be heartbreaking to witness, to tell you the truth. Because the feedback they get is so damn unhelpful. If it’s well-meant it’s often feeble and half-hearted. Because good men don’t always stick their necks out and make an effort.

True, the blokes around me in the water are there, like me, for respite, to escape complexity and responsibility for an hour or two, to save themselves from going mad in their working lives, but their dignified silence in response to misogynistic trash talk allows other messages, other poisonous postures to flourish. Too often, in my experience, the ways of men to boys lack all conviction, they lack a sense of responsibility and gravity. And I think they lack the solidity and coherence of tradition. Sadly, modernity has failed to replace traditional codes with anything explicit, or coherent or benign. We’re left with values that are residual, fuzzy, accidental or sniggeringly conspiratorial.

We’ve scraped our culture bare of ritual pathways to adulthood. There are lots of reasons for having clear-felled and burnt our own traditions since the 1960s, and some of them are very good reasons. But I’m not sure what we’ve replaced them with. We’ve left our young people to fend for themselves. We retain a kind of indulgent, patronising, approval of rites of passage in other cultures, including those of our first peoples, but the poverty of mainstream modern Australian rituals is astounding.

What are we left with? The sly first beer your uncle slips you. The 18th birthday party where the keg is the icon. Maybe the B&S ball, if you live in the bush. First drink, first root, first bog-lap in your mum’s Corolla. Call me a snob, but that strikes me as pretty thin stuff. This, surely, is cultural impoverishment. And in such a prosperous country. To my mind, that’s salt rising to the surface, poisoning the future.

In the absence of explicit, widely-shared and enriching rites of passage, young men in particular are forced to make themselves up as they go along. Which usually means they put themselves together from spare parts, and the stuff closest to hand tends to be cheap and defective. And that’s dangerous.

Toxic masculinity is a burden to men. I’m not for a moment suggesting men and women suffer equally from misogyny, because that’s clearly and fundamentally not true. And nobody needs to hear me mansplaining on the subject of the patriarchy. But I think we forget or simply don’t notice the ways in which men, too, are shackled by misogyny. It narrows their lives. Distorts them. And that sort of damage radiates; it travels, just as trauma is embedded and travels and metastasizes in families. Slavery should have taught us that. The Stolen Generations are still teaching us. Misogyny, like racism, is one of the great engines of intergenerational trauma.

A man in manacles doesn’t fully understand the threat he poses to others. Even as he’s raging against his bonds. Especially as he’s raging against his bonds. When you’re bred for mastery, when you’re trained to endure and fight and suppress empathy, how do you find your way in a world that cannot be mastered? How do you live a life in which all of us must eventually surrender and come to terms? Too many men are blunt instruments. Otherwise known, I guess, as tools. Because of poor training, they’re simply not fit for purpose. Because life is not a race, it’s not a game, and it’s not a fight.

Can we wean boys off machismo and misogyny? Will they ever relinquish the race, the game, the fight, and join the dance? I hope so. Because liberation – a process of disarmament, reflection and renewal – isn’t just desirable, it’s desperately necessary. In our homes, in business, and clearly, and most clearly of all, in our politics.

Children are born wild. And that’s beautiful, it’s wondrous, regardless of gender. Even when they’re feral creatures, kids are reservoirs of tenderness and empathy. But some do turn into savages. And sadly most of those are boys. They’re trained into it. Because of neglect or indulgence. And when we meet them in the street, and have them in our classrooms, and haul them into the courts, we recoil from them in horror and disgust. Our detention centres and jails are heaving with them. These wild colonial boys, they’re a terror to Australia. Real and imagined. But I worry about our revulsion for them, our desire to banish them from consciousness for their noncompliance, their mistakes, or their faithful adherence to the scripts that have been written for them.

oys need help. And, yes, men need fixing – I’m mindful of that. Males arrive in our community on the coattails of an almost endless chain of unexamined privilege. I don’t deny that for a second. But patriarchy is bondage for boys, too. It disfigures them. Even if they’re the last to notice. Even if they profit from it. And their disfigurement diminishes the ultimate prospects of all of us, wherever we are on the gender spectrum. I think we need to admit this.

But before we even get to that point, we have to acknowledge the awkward, implacable fact of their existence, especially those who most offend our sensibilities. We should resist our instinct or our ideological desire to cross the street to avoid them, our impulse to shut them down and shut them out and finally lock them up. We need to have higher expectations of them. Provide better modelling for them.

But before any of that is possible we need to attend to them. Yes, boys need their unexamined privilege curtailed. Just as they need certain proscribed privileges and behaviours made available to them. But the first step is to notice them. To find them worthy of our interest. As subjects, not objects. How else can we hope to take responsibility for them? And it’s men who need to step up and finally take their full share of that responsibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/09/about-the-boys-tim-winton-on-how-toxic-masculinity-is-shackling-men-to-misogyny?CMP=soc_567
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 18:19

Misogyny, like racism, is one of the great engines of intergenerational trauma.

Just wow.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 09 Apr 2018, 18:54

mothra wrote:Misogyny, like racism, is one of the great engines of intergenerational trauma.

Just wow.


What he says makes a lot of sense.

Behaviors, the good and the bad, are taught to us by our role models and our peers.
Being a shit stirrer by nature, I find that as my boys are getting a little older, I have to be more and more careful about making remarks just for the reactions they bring. Stuff like, 'you're the woman, get in the kitchen and cook my dinner' ... i do this not because I actually think a woman's place is in the kitchen (I cook just as often as my wife) but because I know i'll get a reaction from my wife, who is just as likely to throw something at me as ignore me. The fun (for me anyway) is in trying to guess which beforehand and then seeing if I'm right. (It's not as effective as it used to be because after all these years the wife has come to expect these sorts of things ,they no longer surprise her).

But now that I have two boys I do on occasion catch myself about to say something sexist, even if in jest, and I stop myself. Whilst the wife knows I'm shit stirring, the boys are to young to work out the difference and I don't want them growing up with sexist views.
Strangely enough, it is behaviour which is the total opposite of how I was raised. My old man is as sexist as they get and has no problem telling you what he thinks a woman's role is.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 19:21

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:Misogyny, like racism, is one of the great engines of intergenerational trauma.

Just wow.


What he says makes a lot of sense.

Behaviors, the good and the bad, are taught to use by our role models and our peers.
Being a shit stirrer by nature, I find that as my boys are getting a little older, I have to be more and more careful about making remarks just for the reactions they bring. Stuff like, 'you're the woman, get in the kitchen and cook my dinner' ... i do this not because I actually think a woman's place is in the kitchen (I cook just as often as my wife) but because I know i'll get a reaction from my wife, who is just as likely to throw something at me as ignore me. The fun (for me anyway) is in trying to guess which beforehand and then seeing if I'm right. (It's not as effective as it used to be because after all these years the wife has come to expect these sorts of things ,they no longer surprise her).

But now that I have two boys I do on occasion catch myself about to say something sexist, even if in jest, and I stop myself. Whilst the wife knows I'm shit stirring, the boys are to young to work out the difference and I don't want them growing up with sexist views.
Strangely enough, it is behaviour which is the total opposite of how I was raised. My old man is as sexist as they get and has no problem telling you what he thinks a woman's role is.


Nice one. Kids model themselves on the same sex parent. Does it make you question though, whether you need to get better material? I mean, you're supposed to torment your spouse. You need to find a more sophisticated route to demonstrate for your sons ... and keep up with her or she's gonna have you. Eventually.

You're very clever ... i'm sure you can come up with something.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 09 Apr 2018, 19:41

mothra wrote:Kids model themselves on the same sex parent.


attended a parenting seminar once and the consensus amongst the experts was that parents only have to get it right about 30% of the time and the kids will turn out right.

There must be some truth to it or I would have ended up like my old man. :b
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 09 Apr 2018, 19:44

mothra wrote:Does it make you question though, whether you need to get better material?

nah ... my wife loves my cheekiness about me.. After more than ten years I still often surprise her and have her in stitches with laughter (her claim, not mine). I must be doing something right.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 19:50

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:Kids model themselves on the same sex parent.


attended a parenting seminar once and the consensus amongst the experts was that parents only have to get it right about 30% of the time and the kids will turn out right.

There must be some truth to it or I would have ended up like my old man. :b


I reckon the trick is to own it when you cock up. I think that's most important.

Working on that with the boy at the moment. We call it "being home to Mr. Cock-up" and what to do about it. He's at an age where he's started being held to account a little more ... i'm trying to teach him not to be too hard on himself but take responsibility and learn.

Kids learn as much if not more from watching adults around them go belly up.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 19:53

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:Does it make you question though, whether you need to get better material?

nah ... my wife loves my cheekiness about me.. After more than ten years I still often surprise her and have her in stitches with laughter (her claim, not mine). I must be doing something right.



Nooooo, you've misunderstood me. I think you're hilarious and i can well believe you crack your wife up. You crack me up ... i was just subtley trying to say that the "women's work" jokes aren't actually funny. At least not to women.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 09 Apr 2018, 20:15

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:Does it make you question though, whether you need to get better material?

nah ... my wife loves my cheekiness about me.. After more than ten years I still often surprise her and have her in stitches with laughter (her claim, not mine). I must be doing something right.



Nooooo, you've misunderstood me. I think you're hilarious and i can well believe you crack your wife up. You crack me up ... i was just subtley trying to say that the "women's work" jokes aren't actually funny. At least not to women.


its the reactions I get to it that are funny. No good making everyone else laugh if I don't make myself laugh. :hlo
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 09 Apr 2018, 21:18

I really resonated with what he had to say about manhood rites. There's a really beautiful story in "Raising Boys" by Steve Biddulph (a must read for those with sons) about a Native American ritual of sending boys off on vision quests .. and the women would kiss them goodbye and the men would lead them off and dump them in some part of the wilds.

... then the sneaky buggers would patrol around the precious boy (who was not worth risking) and scare the shit out of him with animal noises all night.

He was dead set brave in the morning. And a man.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby pinkeye » 11 Apr 2018, 01:53

It's hard to disagree.

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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby Dax » 11 Apr 2018, 13:07

mothra wrote:I really resonated with what he had to say about manhood rites. There's a really beautiful story in "Raising Boys" by Steve Biddulph (a must read for those with sons) about a Native American ritual of sending boys off on vision quests .. and the women would kiss them goodbye and the men would lead them off and dump them in some part of the wilds.

... then the sneaky buggers would patrol around the precious boy (who was not worth risking) and scare the shit out of him with animal noises all night.

He was dead set brave in the morning. And a man.


Winton is referring to urban boys, whose lives are bereft of creativity, experimentation and knowledge gathering. Indigenous Aussies have boyhood to manhood rituals, which revolve around surviving in the bush, I went through one when very young and experienced the western style of coming of age as well, both rural and urban.

Urban upbringing is like Winton states, it lacks reality, real adventure and is very suppressive of the true human nature. So as they get older, urban boys can lash out, become confused and develop false superiority complexes.They have little humility or understanding, so can develop bad traits and fears.

My boys were brought up to respect women and all life, they were lucky enough to get an upbringing which included both urban and rural life and were subjected to tests of survivability in the bush. The girls got the same upbringing, against the wishes of their mother and are really strong self made women. Did it work, that would depend on what you call success, to me it's the success your kids achieve in whatever they take on and it that, success. On the other hand, it opened up divisions in the family, which to a degree are still there, but my aim was to prepare my kids for real life and I did.

All kids should be given the same opportunity and treated equally, bring in any form of sexism, or being derogatory to or about the opposite sex, is just a sign of intellectual inadequacy, male or female. There are just as many female morons bringing up kids as men,if not more.

Blaming males solely for the malfunctioning offspring, will never get positive results, just fracture society more and more. We are seeing that in action now and it will lead to a collapse of urban society in the near future, if nothing changes.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 11 Apr 2018, 13:25

I don't think it's so much about blaming men for flawed offspring as it is men reclaiming their public perception from what is has largely become, owing to very dangerous behavioural models and a lack of positive ones.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 11 Apr 2018, 17:19

Dax wrote:Winton is referring to urban boys,


rubbish

what is it with you and everything ending up urban v's country? Lots of abusive men in the country sunshine
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby Dax » 11 Apr 2018, 18:34

johnsmith wrote:
Dax wrote:Winton is referring to urban boys,


rubbish

what is it with you and everything ending up urban v's country? Lots of abusive men in the country sunshine


No wonder you have very few participating on this site, you troll, change interpretations of posts and it seems threads, to suit yourself. Then you make up ridiculous accusations you can't support logically and are unable to contribute rationally to the discussion, just troll.

Now you've made it quite clear, you don''t like other opinions or approach to subjects on this site. Seems here, if the post is beyond your understanding and have no ability to answer, you sling abuse, to try to make out you are cool. When all it reveals is, you like to bully people, seems you've got nothing else and if you have boys, it will rub off and probably already has. Having no respect for other opinions, because they don't fit yours, is very common in urban kids today, know where that comes from.

This thread is not about abusive men, it's about bringing up boys. If you have any control of your mind, you wouldn't be filled with anger and frustration at others having different viewpoints and understanding to you.

You don't have a clue about how life operates in the bush compared to cities, which can make a big difference in the upbringing of children. The most important aspect is environment, cities have crap, dirty poisonous, heavily polluted, unsafe environments, but in the bush mostly, kids can run virtually free for hours and they do. I've got grand and great grand kids who I see regularly in my travels, or at home. The young ones brought up in the bush are very different to those brought up in urban situations, by a long shot. However the ones brought up in urban areas mostly, spend lots of time at either my bush places, or their cousins and seem to switch from one lifestyle to the other quite well.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby mothra » 11 Apr 2018, 20:28

Seemws to me, Dax, the one who has trouble accepting other people's opinions is you.
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Re: Tim Winton on boys

Postby johnsmith » 11 Apr 2018, 20:59

Dax wrote:No wonder you have very few participating on this site, you troll, change interpretations of posts and it seems threads, to suit yourself.


change interpretations of posts?? :WTF :WTF :WTF

how does one do that exactly?

I have no problem with differing opinions, just as I have no problem holding you to account for your opinions.


Winton makes no distinction between urban and country, that was solely your doing. Don't cry because I chose not to let that slide.

Dax wrote:You don't have a clue about how life operates in the bush compared to cities, which can make a big difference in the upbringing of children.


true, it's a big difference. Country boys have higher rates of domestic violence, ice addiction, and higher suicide rates. yeahhhh


FYI: I have no problem with country folk or country living, and hope to move my family to somewhere less crowded myself, not country, but a few acres ..... but don't expect me top swallow the smoke you are blowing through your arse about how country life is the answer to everything.


mothra wrote:Seems to me, Dax, the one who has trouble accepting other people's opinions is you.


anyone disagreeing with him is apparently an ideologue. :roll :roll :roll :roll
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