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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)

And you?

Book Two:

“some boys

break boys who

look just like them

because somewhere

along the line

they were taught that

when they are hurt

someone else

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)

Book Two:

“. . .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)

Book Two:


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

defending you

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.

Book Two:

“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)

Book Two:

“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)

Book Two:

“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:

New York.

Book Two: Karr, Jasmin. (2019). When You Ask Me Where I’m Going. Harper Collins: New York.

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