The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

Of Boys and Lions

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on September 5, 2020 18:18

3 users

Stories of toxic masculinity are common in the media these days. A post-lockdown visit to my grandchildren gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate our progress in this regard.

Our child minder, Juliette, shared a Swazi saying with my mother, some 65 years ago: "To bring up a boy is like taming a lion. But he has to be tamed in such a way that he remains a lion." 

Juliette visiting my mother, 65 years later. Author's photo

I remembered this with amusement a few years ago when we introduced my grandson, then about three, to some pretty girls at a horse show. He growled at them! The poor creatures gave a pale smile and found somewhere else to be. Clearly he needed to work at his relationships. 

At the horse show with dad. Author's photo

I recently watched a YouTube video on the stories we tell children. The presenter, Colin Stokes, makes a case for the film industry stereotyping the role of women in story telling, to become passive trophies, while men and boys are portrayed as having to do violent deeds to earn rewards. He compares this to the story of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, where women protagonists win by building teams, by making people better than they think they are, and not by violence.

Should we allow Hollywood to dictate moral standards and values to us? This is one reason why I do not follow television and most films. The moral and ethical qualifications of most of the film industry does not inspire me to follow their example. Let me not be too explicit about people who employ lawyers in bunches of dozens.

A friend who studied our First Nation, the San community in Southern Africa, related how communities would isolate men who were too aggressive. Parents would counsel girls to avoid such unsuitable partners, and the community would, only as a last resort, use violence to dissuade such behavior. They built relationships over centuries without police, law enforcement or threat. Survival depended on societal teamwork.

In the recovery from the current pandemic our societies will have to deal with a lot of stress. Daily news articles evidence that most of us suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Countries resort to dictatorial decision-making to face the crises of economic and societal degeneration, nation-wide stress and uncertainty.

Girls are important. Author's photo

Our futures will depend on our ability to form teams, to work together, to share the economies of the world, not by drawing ever-decreasing circles of "us" against "them." Like Dorothy, not Rambo.

But back to our visit: we enjoyed watching the young man playing the big boy, helping his sister, carefully pushing his little cousin on a swing, and gathering the sheep on the farm. No growling this time!

http://thelatest.com/uploads/tlt/99cab9bc2c5e710170c3e2340a5aa7d7.jpg
Farming with sister. Author's photo

 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on September 5, 2020 18:18

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: Inc.com
1

Taking a lunch break to relieve stress can equate to a more productive work day. Exercise during lunch to return to work...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest