Cooties: Maybe Only Boys Have Them

June 7, 2009
By Becky Barron BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
Becky Barron BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

There is a common problem within the lives of males. Men, young and old, often lack the ability to share with one another their different feelings and issues on an emotional level, and therefore turn to women as their emotional release. There have been articles, interviews and movies constructed that are based around this male issue. Men have shared their reasons behind this problem, stating that it is too feminine to share their feelings or it is just a standard male quality they possess. Also, men have created an emotional dependency to a certain female in their life. This problem of a disconnection between males can eventually lead to forms of depression in males of all ages. This research can be used to show males that their inability to emotionally connect with one another is not only a solitary problem within one individual, but is faced by many males.

Pollack, Dr. William S. Real Boy's Voices. Random House, 2000.
Chapter One: The Secret Emotional Lives of America’s Boys: What They’re Talking About

This chapter of Dr. Pollack’s book describes how young boys in America have to follow the so-called “Boy Code”. This code identifies as an unwritten rule that boys cannot show emotional feelings in public or towards one another and if they do, they will become more feminine and take the risk of being made fun of, and usually are. This chapter talks about the pressures that males face in order to keep to this code and “remain masculine”. Boys of many ages express their feelings on this issue and how they attempt to handle the pressure. This source expresses the idea that males have a hard time communicating with each other on an emotional level because they are afraid that they are not living up to their expectations and rules of being male. In this chapter, boys discuss the pressures of trying to seem strong and powerful which makes it uneasy to form close friendships with other males, “for the fear of seeming feminine” (7). Some boys in the chapter also explain that their closest friends are girls because they are better listeners and accept males for who they are without judging their emotional levels. When boys are unable to communicate with anyone, it often causes them to go into stages of depression because their feelings cannot be let out. I do not believe that there is much bias in this source because there are opinions of multiple different boys of all different ages who have come up with the same conclusion: that males are set under a strong “Boy Code” in which sharing their feelings with each other is unacceptable and shown to be weak. I hold a bias, as a female, reading this chapter, because I think of situations in my life that are similar to the situations I read about and formulate my opinion based on what I see, compared to what I read. This chapter reveals that males are unable to communicate with each other freely on an emotional level, in most circumstances, and therefore turn to girls to share things with, or just hold it inside them.

Pollack, Dr. William S. Real Boy's Voices. Random House, 2000.
Chapter Two: Taking Off the Gender Strait Jacket

This chapter of Real Boy’s Voices, gives more boys an opportunity to discuss the relationships that males have with their friends and their family members. Some of the boys do have strong relationships with other male friends, but most boys say that it is “hard to find that kind of friend” (24). Many of the boys talk about the relationships between them and their female friends, sisters, and mothers and describe a more healthier and open verbal relationship when it comes to emotional and personal issues. One boy, Glenn, talks about how talking with other guys is not necessarily embarrassing, but it feels like they are saying too much and practically losing a part of themselves. Many issues like this can result in a loss of communication and approachability between fathers and sons. Males are more comfortable talking to females about certain things because with males, they find it unnatural and something they just do not do. This also creates strong bonds between themselves and female family members. Again, I did not see much bias shown because these were stories and opinions of multiple boys who tended to agree with the same things regarding the topic of the emotional communication barriers that males face. This article is useful in showing that males struggle with finding another male to speak with on an emotional subject, which creates a more open level of communication between males and females.
Schwyzer, Hugo. "“My Wife Is My Best Friend”/”My Wife Is My Only Friend”: the Guy Code, and the Inability To Get Naked Without Getting Naked." Hugo Schwyzer. 7 Apr. 2009. 26 Apr. 2009 .

Hugo Schwyzer writes about the relationship of a married couple in this article. He discusses the idea that a wife is a man’s best friend, especially in the culture we live in which “shames male vulnerability”. Schwyzer believes that once a man and a woman have sex, the male is more easily able to open up to her emotionally and become vulnerable. With this, as a relationship progresses, becomes closer to the woman and eventually depending on her for an emotional release. If a man and woman get divorced, this can sometimes leave a man with no one to talk to and discuss the emotional pain he is going through. This article describes the relationship between men and women and the emotional connection that a male can make only through a woman or companion. There is somewhat of a bias shown in this article because whether Schwyzer is divorced, single, or married, he is sharing his opinion based on only what he sees from that point of view. Also, though, there are many responsive comments to Schwyzer which people agree with his theory. It is very useful for information to have a source in which describes the emotional relationship between a male and female who are dating or married.

Hoeber, Gary. "A Men’s Group: Essential to a Man’s Growth and Development." Psychotherapy Through Soul Work. 2009. .

In Hoeber’s article, he discusses the problem that men lack the ability to form relationships with other men. This can result in emotional pain and loneliness. Hoeber states that this is a normal thing for men, and most don’t even realize it is happening to them. In result of being in pain and being lonely, men turn to their girlfriends or wives for emotional comfort and connections. This is because men “lack the experience to express feelings” towards people other than their significant other. Hoeber believes that a way that men are able to express themselves with other men around is at men’s groups. This explains more about the reason why men do not care to share their feelings with other men; because they just do not know how to. There is some bias shown in this article because Gary Hoeber is a psychotherapist who works in fields mainly focused on family and marriage, so he is making this assumption and judgment mainly on clients he has dealt with and most likely daily observations of his own. This is useful information because it explains the inability of males to share feelings and emotions with other males and not females.

I Love You Man. Dir. John Hamburg. Prod. John Hamburg. Perf. Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, and Rashida Jones. Film. Dreamworks/Paramount, 2009.

I Love You Man is a movie about a man, Peter, whose only friend is his fiancé and her friends. He does not realize this until he needs to pick out a best man for his wedding. In search for a best man, he goes on many “man-dates” and tries to meet someone. He fails until one day he comes across Sydney, and they bond instantly becoming best friends. It took Peter until he wasn’t trying any more to actually find a friend. Peter gives the example of a man who tries hard but just cannot connect with other men and luckily met Sydney. Up until Sydney, Peter relied on his fiancé, Zooey, for emotional support and connection. This has somewhat of a bias to it because it is a movie and movies tend to set up in a specific kind of formula where it ends happy, especially comedies like this one. Also, events are dramatized and overplayed, so many events in the movie that show friendships between one man and another may be inaccurate to real life. This is useful to my work because a movie shows many people in the world about the issues that men face having an emotional level of friendship with another male, and even though it is shown through a comedy movie, there are many realistic aspects about it.

Devin. "Male Friendships." Telephone interview. 27 Apr. 2009.

Many of the questions I have formulated while doing my research I decided to use as interview questions for a friend of mine Devin. Devin is a 16-year-old male who is predominantly friends with girls. After asking my questions, the answers I received did not surprise me compared to the research I had already done. To summarize my interview, Devin explained that it is much easier for him to be friends with girls because they are more understanding and accepting of the things he talks about. He also explained that there is a pressure that guys have to be “manly” which include things like playing sports and “getting with girls”. He talked about how girls are more open about talking about things on an emotional level and that makes it easier for him to express himself. Devin thinks it is hard to talk to other guys about feelings because he will look less manly and seem “gay”. This is especially relevant to my research because it is a first account observation of male-male friendships, from a male source. There may be bias in this source because Devin is mainly friends with girls, where other males may have no problem creating friendships with other males. This source is useful because it is a real conversation with a male who has confirmed that it is hard to emotionally connect and converse with other males.

Becky. Observations

I am a teenager in a very diverse high school where you can see males of all different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and stereotypes. My observations of the actions of males in my surroundings are a source because I am able to compare and contrast these different actions to formulate my opinion on male-male friendships. I think this observational source is relevant because I have many sources from a male’s point of view, but not female’s. I have observed in high school that males do not have a hard time having friendships with other males, but they do have problems sharing and emotionally connecting with other males. I observe that males have an easier time, sharing their feelings and emotions with their female friends or girlfriends. I have first account examples of this because I have male friends and a boyfriend who do share with me their feelings and emotional situations, where they do not share this information with their closest male friends. There is a bias in this source because my opinions on my observations are formulated from the same opinions I used to create my thesis, so I obviously have an opinion already, going into my observations. I think my own observations are an important median in my research because if my own observations did not agree with my thesis, then it would be incredibly hard to prove my theory.

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