For easy reference, I’m going to list some abusive behavior that is viewed as common in women, but isn’t. Healthy women don’t do these things. Normal women who are reasonably functioning don’t do these things. It just gets excused a lot in unhealthy, dysfunctional, abusive women because people, quite frankly, value women more than men in many ways. Women have also done a very good job in maintaining a certain cronieism based privilege, that is not as illusory as certain racial privilege. In fact, gender privilege is the main scaffolding of racial privilege.
The purpose of this list is to raise awareness, both in men who are being or have been abused by women, and in women who are abusers or potential abusers. In the latter case, we really need to check our privilege and check our trauma based entitlement as well. An overblown sense of entitlement doesn’t always come from a belief in one’s superiority. Much of the time, it comes from trauma and fear.
Since women are generally physically weaker and more vulnerable than men, we are often excused a lot of messed up behavior, and for those who have actually experienced gendered traumas, this does not help in recovery. Recovery demands reality and reality demands recovery. So we need to end making excuses for ourselves.
Though this isn’t strictly a thing women do to boys, outside of abrahamic religious communities, it is usually the mother’s decision whether to have it done. Religious reasons or not, it is genital mutilation and does cause permanent damage.
Leave the boys’ genitals alone.
Overuse of Physical Discipline
Boys are beaten in childhood more than girls. Though some would say that some physical discipline is needed, and be right, consider whether or not these beatings are actually happening because of corporal punishment worthy wrongdoings. Physical discipline is appropriate in some cases when letting the behavior slide would certainly have worse physical consequences. If the child is doing something that could reasonably get them killed, jailed, or beaten up by others, then they should be restrained from doing it, and perhaps spanked if needed.
With spankings, most of the time, one firm tap of the hand or smack of the behind is enough to distract most kids from whatever dangerous thing is it they are doing. If this doesn’t work the first few times, there may be a problem that requires professional assistance, and all spanking should cease until it is known.
Deaf children are often accused of not listening. Hearing impairment in early childhood is more common in boys than girls. So sometimes a deaf child will be beaten and not understand why, and this could affect them for life.
Autistic children can also be psychologically damaged by “normal” levels of physical discipline. So can those who are not in the spectrum, but suffer from oversensitivity , or are especially strong willed. You just have to know your child to know what level and type of physical discipline is appropriate.
But beware that you may just be behaving automatically based on gender stereotypes about males. There is a reason male children tend to cry more and be more sensitive to touch and textures. That is because even when they are young, they are producing more testosterone than girls. This makes them more sensitive to touch and emotional triggers.
So instead of spanking, when they are doing something dangerous, use a jarring but non striking physical discipline. Grab them firmly but gently by the hand or shoulders, look them in the eye, and say, “NO! That is dangerous!” They will probably cry like you are killing them, but they will get the point without the use of violence.
For tantrums, you can teach them how to control their own emotions and cool down using a water mister or facial wipes with extra water added. When they start a tantrum cycle, mist them with the water or wipe their face down with the cool, wet wipe, and go about your business. Ignoring them can be phase 2, but phase 1, at least in my experience, should be addressing that they’re behaving badly at that moment, and helping them correct it.
You don’t hit a child for verbally expressing themselves. This is how they should be expressing themselves, and not with unnecessary violence.
Villainizing Violence and Self Defense
Violence is a common part of the human experience. There is no getting away from this fact. However, boys will generally feel violent impulses at a greater frequency than girls, and as they develop, these will increase because they are needed both to compete and to protect and defend themselves and others. Since they are boys, attempting to silence violence within them only redirects it to inappropriate outlets.
So rather than making all violence bad, it is better to give a boy appropriate outlets. First, you lead by example in not using inappropriate levels of violence towards or around him. Second, you give him what to do with this energy. From this place of safety with his natural self, you can more easily teach him socially appropriate uses for violence. I recommend martial arts. Almost any of them will do. Just make sure the instructor has similar values to you and will not encourage too much deviation from family norms and traditions. A good teacher also teaches the kids in his or her class to respect their parents.
Villainizing violence for boys is abusive because it is a form of gaslighting. Gaslighting is basically convincing someone that they are crazy, and that natural and reasonable responses to things are somehow unnatural, pathological, and unreasonable. If you teach a young man that his natural and enculturated urges to defend and protect himself and those around him are wrong, then you create a confused, angry, frustrated young man who doesn’t know what to do with himself, or who comes to believe he is a monster and ultimately behaves like one.
This is also another good reason to lead by example in appropriate levels of physical discipline. You teach him not to overuse violence by not overusing it yourself, but also not fearing it as evil in itself, and that he is worth protecting and defending by protecting and defending him and yourself when needed.
There will come a time when he will be able to kick your butt if he wants. So don’t create an abusive dynamic. When that day comes, you want him to use his strength to protect and defend you and others in the family, not to flex his power. So as soon as you can see that he has the basics of self control, get him a pet or put him to the task of tending animals. This way at least, he can learn to deal with his emotions, and even make a few mistakes along the way without any humans being harmed if something goes wrong. For the same reason girls need pets and responsibility for living beings to learn the basics of personal responsibility and motherhood, boys need it too. Do not neglect this.
On gender privilege scaffolding racial privilege, one way we groom young men to dehumanize others is by dehumanizing them when they are merely being active and playful, as children and young men are prone to be. When we refer to them in animal terms for being human and male, we give them a green light to do it to others. It creates a distance between a man and his behavior that should not be there. In order for men to be able to own their misbehavior, they must keep the connection with their “inner animal” rather than treating him as if he is a separate and alien to the whole man. When it becomes alien, many feelings of shame and disgust with themselves gets projected onto men of different ethnicities, cultures, or classes. So in the case of verbally lowering non criminal males to “brutes” and “animals”, or hey let’s go there, “gorillas” and “devils”, we women create the gift that keeps on giving: division in which we can keep some degree of a captive audience.
As to men who are already men, one way we abuse them with gaslighting violence is by demeaning or neglecting warriors and veterans. It doesn’t matter what your politics are, or if you believe your country’s soldiers are brainwashed by a hostile elite. They still deserve your respect because they are at least the ones defending your nation’s wealth and way of life.
Abuse and neglect of soldiers and vets is not cool. Not to mention, around the world, there are many women in combat and combat support, as well as medics who have to dodge bullets in the field. When you disrespect men, you also disrespect those women doing this traditionally masculine job.
As sensitive as girls and women are about our breasts, developing boys and men are about their penis. Accusing a man of having a small penis is one of the most common insults women level against men who anger them for any reason. He doesn’t like your hair, so he has a small penis. He thinks you’re too fat, so he has a small penis. He doesn’t vote for your favorite politician, so he has a small penis. You get the point.
Women are often very hypocritical about this. They condemn men for fat shaming, but then dish out the same level of insults against men, but body shaming is body shaming, and it is never cool. Well, unless it’s eye for an eye, but then that’s the line between defense and abuse in almost anything else.
So if a man hasn’t insulted your or someone else’s looks, you have no place to insult his. If he has, then well, what’s good for the goose, still, you want to ask yourself whether it really solves anything.
Though part of the traditional role of men in a family is being providers, it is not their only function, and their reward for investing their lives in a family should be more than just knowing they provided a paycheck. Though part of the traditional role of the woman in the family is managing the resources that the provider brings in, it does not mean that there is no responsibility to manage them well. Many women believe that it is the man’s job to fund all of their whims.
Financially enslaving a man and purposefully or mindlessly increasing rather than reducing his debt and financial stress is abuse. It is based on a sense of entitlement to exploit a man’s virtue in fulfilling his traditional role, which he may view as being connected to his honor as a man. The line between a traditional woman and a gold digger is that the former grows a man’s wealth and status, while the latter reduces it.
Your man should also have time to spend with his children. If he has to work all the time, then his absence is felt, and the lack of guidance and an active male role model will come back to haunt you. So keeping him in a constant state of financial stress because of your bad decisions hurts the whole family, not just your relationship with him.
This is why I say again, women have always worked. Even if you are very traditional, and your man does not want you to work outside the home, find something to do that helps bring in some income, so that your man can be a good companion and active father, not just a paycheck.
Do not shame him though. Many women shame and berate their men for not making enough money. There is a difference between encouraging someone to live to their potential, and shaming a man. So when you have to have discussions about the finances, make sure that your language is encouraging and highlighting the benefits of making sound decisions, not making him feel bad because he doesn’t make what you think he should be making.
Click below to continue with Instigating.