A feminist writer at The Atlantic has called for an even more proactive feminization of boys in an era where boys would rather sit on their rears all day playing video games than play outside with friends.
In an article titled “Today’s Masculinity Is Stifling,” feminist author Sarah Rich holds up her cross-dressing son as a paragon of the modern male while accusing the culture of misogyny every time it criticizes boys acting like girls.
“To embrace anything feminine, if you’re not biologically female, causes discomfort and confusion,” Rich writes. “Throughout most of history and in most parts of the world, being a woman has been a disadvantage.”
Rich argues that masculinity has an unfavorable advantage in society because whenever a girl displays masculine traits, they are considered a “badass” whereas boys get slapped with “embarrassing” labels. She goes on to correct this attitude not by emphasizing the beauty of womanhood, but rather by emphasizing the greatness of feminine boys.
“What I want for him (her son), and for all boys, is for the process of becoming men to be expansive, not reductive,” she says.
Rich calls on “parents, teachers, and community members…to build a culture of boyhood that fosters empathy, communication, caretaking, and cooperation,” virtues universally recognized as feminine.
If boys feel free to act more like girls without the stigma, she suggests, fewer mass shootings and murders will take place. According to Sarah Rich, such horrific acts of violence occur because males are not feminized enough, which results in them acting out in horrific ways. She cites psychiatrist James Gilligan to back up her claim.
“Whether it’s homicidal violence or suicidal violence, people resort to such desperate behavior only when they are feeling shamed and humiliated, or feel they would be, if they didn’t prove that they were real men,” says Gilligan.
Essentially, mass shooters and murderers only commit their heinous acts to prove themselves to a society that questions their machismo. Perhaps today’s masculinity is not “stifling,” as the author suggests, but lacks clear, positive definitions.