Boys Need To Support Boys

29 November 2017


My thoughts about this topic are messy and complicated and I’ve tried so many times to formulate my thoughts into sentences but I’m finding it very hard- so please bear with me whilst I do my best to write about this. I will start at the beginning (briefly) throughout my entire life I have always seen more sensitivity surrounding girl's feelings than boys feelings. Never once have I been told to ‘man up’ other than to mock the stupid saying. In Canada men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Obviously, we can’t generalise mental wellbeing to gender and what not but that is a statistic I need to support this argument. Please keep these things in your mind as you read this.

This is where I find it more difficult to express my thoughts. Please bear with me, I will use a story and in typing the story hopefully it will help put my words into constellations and then I’ll be able to type.

When me and my boyfriend broke up, he told me it was difficult as he could never talk about his actual feelings to any of his friends, as their 'comforting' words were mainly fuck that or that now he's free and can get with who he wants. My friends however, were sympathetic and listened as I wailed on- as I went from angry to desperate they stood by me whilst my emotions went sparked. Never once was I met with the phrase there are more fish in the sea, apart from to take the piss as they knew the importance in just letting me vent. Then Michael (my ex) spoke to my friend Sophia about how he had been doing and started turning to girls to talk about his feelings. That is not my issue. My issue is that all of his best friends have been through break ups. All of them have been through the pain yet no one was willing to listen to Michael talk about his pain or offer him some advice on how to get over it. When I asked about certain people he said it would just be uncomfortable to talk to them. Yet he is able to talk to girls.

The stigma surrounding men and talking about their feelings is prevalent in girls however,  maybe it’s because my friends are incredibly woke so my opinion is incorrect, but I think in our generation it is easier for boys to discuss their feelings with girls rather than to other boys. I think this is because we are labelled as the more sensitive gender- obviously not all girls are open about their feelings but please stick with me. Besides the notion our anger is due to our period, there isn’t much taboo around girls expressing their feelings. I think this surety that girls embrace emotion make us a beacon when it comes to boys discussing their feelings. Out of the select few I asked, no boys were able to give me an answer straight away who they would talk to when they wanted to talk about their feelings. When I asked Michael his answer was ‘um’ and I realised after the pause I would not get a sincere answer. Even if the answer was no one, it would still come out fast. I’m not sure how we’re meant to break the barrier between boys and their emotions- obviously debunking the stereotypes surrounding the fact men don’t cry and demolishing the commonly used ‘man up’ is a start. I think though a way to get boys to talk about their feelings more is for girls to emphasise the fact we are willing to listen. Obviously if you’re not then don’t offer yourself up but I think it’s important to not be awkward and just let your friends know you will listen. It’s hard enough to talk about your feelings, let alone when society insults you for doing so.

It’s easy to fall into the trap that some boys are unable to see beyond beer and football but let’s be real- that’s not true. Some boys are perceived to be emotionless but in reality they have never been given the chance to express their feelings as we are so quick to encourage boys to suppress their emotions in order to keep their masculinity in tact. Which is fucking dumb.

We need to be there for boys and eventually boys will be able to talk to other boys. I asked Michael as an experiment to ask his friends how they were doing and he laughed and said that would be too awkward. Even the thought of boys opening up is uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable can’t last forever though and it upsets me that even thinking of talking about feelings is off limits for boys. We need to let young boys throw strops and tantrums, we need to show boys crying on TV and true friendships between boys. Boys showing each other platonic affection is quickly labelled a bromance which is all fun and games but then the affection becomes farce. It’s important for true friendly interactions to happen so they can know their friendships are true which in turn will help communication become easier. Obviously I don't think the whole taking the piss in a friendship should be gone, but in my opinion there is a degree of sincerity that should be shown in a friendship. Sincerity helps us understand and accept our feelings which is what men need to begin to do puncture the outdated masculine ideals. We have such a long way to go in terms of our society and we need to recognise how vital it is that we abandon anything relating to emotions being a woman's weakness and anything that trivialises men's emotions.

I bought this ‘girls need to support girls’ in a £1 sale at work. Feminism is becoming fashionable and I appreciate that as it promotes a good cause. Girls are beginning to support other girls, but in doing this it’s important to not insult men as insulting them only worsens expectations for them just like it does for us. Girls need to support boys too as I’m not entirely sure who is supporting boys and their mental stability at the moment.

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this because my head is just a whirlwind of thoughts and this was a nightmare to write.

7 comments

  1. ahh such an interesting post and something that is rarely talked about, especially from a female perspective. Its so true though and so telling the reaction that michael got from his friends–this idea of 'lad' behaviour that dominates. I think the key way to break these barriers is to show boys crying, show guys helping each other, show compassion and care because the bullshit expectations of masculinity confine emotion with weakness but perpetuates this issue of guys not being able to show emotion or talk. We need to see guys cry and guys helping each other and feeling true emotion because we're all human but they've been taught it needs to be hidden. I love your tee but think a boys need to support boys would be sick too. Kudos for talking about this, deffs isn't brought up enough!
    https://kaatielouu.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. A boys need to support boys tee is needed! Yes to showing boys crying more, I hate the lad culture but I guess they can't help it really! Well some of it they can but not all parts. x

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  2. Very interesting and thought provoking post. I agree with everything you have said, we need to be more supportive of boys and remove societies idea that boys have to be tough and emotionless. I have a lot of guy friends who come to me to tell me their feelings because they feel they are unable to talk to their male friends about them and it should not be like that in 2017!

    Fran | franciscarockey.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It shouldn't be, but I'm glad they talk to you because not all boys feel they can talk about feelings which is silly! Thanks Fran :) x

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  3. I agree that boys/men still really rarely talk about their emotions. I know my boyfriend talks to one of his male friend once in a blue moon about mental health... but he would much rather talk to me or his female friends. It’s easier to talk to girls, I do it too. Even though my bf is there for me, I feel like my female friends “get it” more.

    That being said, I do think our generation is getting closer to being more open, because there is that emphasize on mental health and social issues.

    - Iona (asweetdestination.blogspot.com)

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  4. This post is amazing. I have never really thought about the issue until now. Boys tend to be more closed off with their feelings but that might be because no one supports or listens to them with sincerity so they don't want to share. I am so glad to have read this post. I am going to take this idea with me wherever I go.
    Simply Me

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  5. such an important post, loved reading it xx

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