I read on the train and this week it was an article from a newspaper about MASCULINITY by Howard Cunnell
It makes much sense to me.
Rings so true of my own experiences working with
beautiful young humans including 'offenders' - aren't we all !
I offer you these extracts.
When I was almost consumed by anger.
My father had abandoned me before I was born,
leaving me with powerful feelings of worthlessness.
Self-destruction defined my young adulthood.
I thought being tough and violent was the only way to be a man,
but I was also scared of violence and sought escape in reading and the natural world.
Years ago, I read a book of essays called Finding Freedom by Jarvis Masters - since 1990 a prisoner on death row in San Quentin prison, near San Francisco.
By his own admission he was an angry,
raging and barely literate young man when he entered the prison
as a 19-year-old, with an absent father,
drug-addicted mother and a childhood characterised by
abandonment and violence - a profoundly representative figure,
in other words.
In most western settings, including prisons, it's "traditional" masculinity that is dominant.
Aggression, hardness, physical power and emotional reticence -
not love and compassion - are the qualities most highly valued.
These values are intimately connected to, and manifest in, power and systems of domination - governmental, financial, military and domestic -
by which a small number of men secure the natural and economic resources of the planet for themselves, and protect their privilege by any and all means, including imprisonment, slavery and force of arms.
Many men who are raised to believe in these values, but who are denied access to the rewards such values supposedly offer,
are angry, depressed, violent and destructive.