Are we brought up to see men in a negative light?

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Does anyone remember the phrase from their childhood: “Don’t trust boys. They’re only after one thing”? I certainly do and it’s likely it’s affected me my whole life, I just haven’t realised up until now.

Thinking about it, I have always been surprised men have emotions. It may sound strange or you may understand exactly where I’m coming from but let me explain. When listening to love songs sung and written by men, I used to find myself thinking “do men really think like that? Wow.” Or now when I see a man cry, I treat as a big deal, whereas a woman crying isn’t, because they cry all the time. I’m shocked and almost, can’t believe it. After all, we’re brought up with the notion that men are after one thing, who could have thought they could love another human being so much? When bringing up boys, it’s not unusual to skip all the emotional stuff – when they fall over, you tell them not to cry, get up and be strong whereas a girl is comforted, hugged and kissed. It’s true that girls are often more emotional than boys, a lot of this is down to hormones, so women are known to fluctuate in mood quite rapidly which men, often, do not understand. Men aren’t brought up to understand women’s emotions or menstrual cycles (which mess with our emotions quite a bit) so it’s no wonder they spend most of their lives confused about women. At the same time, girls are brought up with the idea that men are dangerous, want to force you into sex and that they’re generally bad news.

While this may be true of some teenage boys and some men, it’s not true for the majority and it seems hugely unfair for both sexes. What if inciting such beliefs led to the self-fulfilling prophecy? For those who aren’t familiar with that term, the self-fulfilling prophecy is when you tell someone they are “X” so much, they actually end up becoming it because of you. For example, if you are taught in school you’re going to fail no matter what, it can actually lead to you failing. Boys are supposed to be obsessed with sex, that’s what we teach them, so is it any wonder some turn sour? We are also taught that only boys are obsessed with sex during their teen years, not true – or else how would so many teenage pregnancies occur? We cannot possibly believe that every single girl was forced into it. No, due to those fluctuating hormones I mentioned before, girls can be just as sex obsessed (or rather, curious) as boys – they’re just not as vocal about it because they’re not allowed to be for fear of being seen as sluts.

I realise I’ve gone off on a tangent but my point is I feel as if we’re brought up to see boys and men in a negative light. Men don’t help themselves either, I’ve lost count of the amount of men who’ve judged another man’s actions on the basis of “that’s what men are like”, as if one gender follows the exact same emotional path set out before them. What I have found is that in fact, one man is very different from the next (funny that!) and that any man who says he can tell you what another man’s motivations are is a liar. But because of what men say about men, I don’t know what to believe sometimes, my boyfriend tells me things that lots of men (and women) would say is a down right lie. Now I don’t know if these things are lies or not, and unless I invent a machine that allows me to read others minds, I will never truly know. The fact that I doubt someone, just souly due to what others day is “true of all men” is sad though and I don’t think we should be brought up like this. 

Do you agree? Is it a similar case for what men learn about women? Please let me know as I’d be fascinated to learn more.

Tarantino is reflecting how we all feel about film violence

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By now I’m sure you’ve all seen that interview with director Quentin Tarantino in which he loses his cool and refuses to answer questions regarding the relation (or lack of) of film violence to real life violence. Whether you’re a fan or not and whether you thought he went overboard with his reaction or you sympathise with him, I think we can all agree on one thing – he’s simply reflecting our own frustrations.

Whenever there’s a national tragedy, films and video games are blamed and currently because of Sandy Hook, instead of people tackling the real issues – mental health and gun control (like Tarantino has stated on numerous occasions), it’s being blamed on entertainment. Let’s look at the evidence: there has never been any proof that violent cinema or video games causes or contributes to real life violent behaviour and yet it’s the first thing many journalists, parents and gun enthusiasts blame. America also has the highest amount of school shootings and yet they don’t blame their guns or healthcare system, they blame entertainment. Video games and violent films are watched worldwide, the rest of the world (for the most part) do not have anywhere near as many problems with violence as America does.

Tarantino has been making violent films for 20 years and over those twenty years he’s been asked the same questions time and time again. Many interviewers even try to push some sort of blame onto him, like his violent films are what has caused Sandy Hook – despite there being no link whatsoever. He simply says that firstly, it’s insulting to the people who have died in these shootings to spend time on the news talking about movies instead of how tragic the situation is. Secondly, he says that when there was violence in Shakespeare’s time, the playwrights were blamed. Both of these points are true and I don’t think you can blame Tarantino for not wanting to play along with journalists who sit there and simply point the finger. 

Ask yourself this, what was blamed for violence before books, films and video games? Nothing. Human nature has violent aspects, it’s like blaming rape on porn – rape has always been around and unfortunately it always will be but we can take steps to prevent it and help the victims. It’s the same situation with gun crime and in fact, there’s was a study in a 2009 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics which showed that violent films actually help reduce crime and not increase it. Sometimes, we just need to live out our fantasies so we don’t do them in real life.