No Mama's Boys Allowed: Society's Fear of Femininity in Boys

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Hohert, Ariel
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Psychological and cultural restraints are stifling the burgeoning potential of boys. Drawing upon the works of Blazina (1997; 2004), Real (1997), Pollack (1998), and Silverstein and Rashbaum (1994), this thesis explores how North American society's encouragement of hyper-masculinity is creating psychological trauma for boys. Examples are drawn from books focused on parenting boys to elucidate the dominant thought that boys are naughty, unruly, and need harsh discipline. The pressure society places on boys to be stoic and self-reliant lies in sharp contrast to the importance of connection suggested by proponents of the attachment paradigm. A model is proposed to illustrate gender expression on a continuum ranging from extreme rigidity to ultimate flexibility. A compilation of recommendations is provided as a resource of inspiration about how to contribute to boys' healthy, open-minded expression of gender. The limitations and challenges of studying the multifaceted topic of boys' socialization are discussed.
gender identity for boys , masculinity , boys' socialization