Two Books--An Introduction
(Book One Meets Book Two)
Book One: My name is You Throw Like A Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity. What is yours?
Book Two: My name is When You Ask Me Where I’m Going.
Book One: Nice to meet you.
Book Two: I’m not sure yet. Where are you from?
Book One: My own history. I’m sports vignettes and a comment on the way marginalized voices are invited to participate. You may be familiar with systemic racism’s rhetoric. And you?
Book Two: Strength and weakness. Womanhood and many others. But, most importantly from the place where I’ve stopped apologizing. What brings you here?
Book One: “The Socialization of Boys.”
Book Two: Tell me more.
Book One: “When I first began this work, shortly after retiring from football at age twenty-nice, I probed my life for lessons that instilled in me what it means to be a man. None of what I found was positive or affirming. What I unearthed was shaming language, bravado, and stoic posturing. That’s when I arrived at the quintessential insult to boys: ‘You throw like a girl.’ It succinctly illustrates the foundation of men’s violence against women: the belief that girls and women are ‘less than’ and the unspoken suppression of boys’ emotional wholeness.
The more I asked the question, ‘What does it mean to be a man?’ the more salient and important that insult became in confronting misogyny and sexism’s direct link to violence against women. In fact, it led to a deeper, inescapable truth that we do not raise boys to be men, we raise them not to be women—or gay men.” (13-14)
break boys who
look just like them
along the line
they were taught that
when they are hurt
must hurt more” (5)
“boys with microphones
love to talk about queens
love to separate the humans
from the hoes
love to sexualize
the intelligence of women
love to tell you that you are
not like the other women
love to praise women
so women will
want them.” (25)
Book One: “We want men to use their protective ‘instincts’ while ignoring the fact that protective patriarchy is not instinctual but rather a product of a set of learned behaviors that narrowly define masculinity.” (19)
“. . .their hands are only their hands. they are not trip wire. . .
their bodies are only their bodies. they do not disobey. . .
their decisions are only their decisions
you did not make them do this.” (65)
“is there a way to forgive you without watching myself
in a different life, we are whole and you are everything
i thought you were. there are no splinters in your voice
or contorted conditions upon this love. there are no refused
apologies or burning carcasses in place of the word sorry.
there are no stinging eyes. most of all, there are no marks. . .” (160)
What languages do you speak? Do you speak one without the word ‘sorry’?
Book One: I am learning to speak and how to teach the language of emotion in a masculine dialect.
“’Be a man’ is also a hollow demand founded on an unfair assumption, which is that the boy (or man) to whom it is directed understands and agrees to a society’s narrow, fixed definition of masculinity. If a boy does not demonstrate and live by that strict definition, we ask ‘What is wrong with him?’ This ignores the truth of how a boy or man truly and authentically understands himself beyond narrow and superficial social expectations. There is nothing wrong with him if his personal identity empowers him to live beyond the limits of social and cultural expectations.” (105-106).
Trained to use very few tools. “Though they may not use the same verbiage, they invariably say the ultimate insult is being equated or likened to a girl in any way.” (125)
when did you forget
that the walls of
a woman’s body
were once a fortress
protecting you from
a world you were too fragile for?
she has been
long before you decided
that she has no place
defending you.” (48)
Book One: “. . . all men do care about a lot of things and are vulnerable in many ways. But we are rarely encouraged to demonstrate the breadth of this truth. Contrary to the belief that men act out to impress women, the truth is that we often behave in certain ways to impress other men. . .The authentic identity of boys and men is that we are loving, caring, sensitive, and vulnerable—that is, we are human. But our peer groups control the rules of the performance and the path toward validation.” (115)
Book Two: Do they understand?
Book One: A little.
“if he is the place where
your head rests each night
but he is never the place
where the poems arise
perhaps you shouldn’t
call this home.” (167)
Book One: “We need to be for positive outcomes, not simply against bad things that have occurred.” (17)
“but what if muscle doesn’t fully heal?
it makes itself heard.” (37)
Book One: “’He hurts you because he likes you.’ The message this sends to girls is obvious and disturbing, while the message to boys is equally disturbing since it suggests he is inescapable of appropriately conveying feelings of affection.” (129)
Book Two: Bilingual. Trilingual. Multilingual is not valued.
Book One: “In a society held together by laws and social structures created by men, there is an incentive for men as well as women to advance and uphold patriarchy, even when it manifests in destructive ways.” (133). . . “In fact, most men who are violent toward women do so once trust and safety have been established in a relationship. The deeper the trust, the more sustained the violence becomes. It’s a noxious intersection of several elements: the trust and belief many women have in men’s dutiful, protective masculinity; men’s emotional angst; and the rigidity of their masculine identity and expression.” (135)
“if I should have a son” pg 180-181
Book One: I will not be my father.
Book One: McPherson, Don. (2019). You Throw Like A Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity. Akashic Books:
Book Two: Karr, Jasmin. (2019). When You Ask Me Where I’m Going. Harper Collins: New York.