Enough with forcing young boys into the damaging confinements of what it means to be an alpha male.
If there’s one thing that boys in our society learn from a young age, it’s that men are supposed to be strong—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Real men can hold their own, defend themselves, turn jigsaw pieces into an Ikea bookshelf, and kick butt when needed. Real men don’t cry, don’t complain to women, and definitely don’t over-share their fears and deep thoughts. Real men have strong will, strong minds, and an innate ability to comfort themselves if they ever need it. To live anyway else is to essentially succumb to the worst thing a man could be in our society—a bitch.
Bitches need backup when confronted or they run away from whomever is threatening them. Bitches bawl their eyes out when life gets tough. Bitches need to talk things out instead of just going out and doing it. Bitches are victims of rape. Real men are not.
Our collective society pounds this message into the heads of boys from a young age. It becomes such a constant ringing message in their ears throughout their adulthood that they end up parroting the same ideology to their sons, and the cycle continues. That’s why the unidentified 16-year-old boy who had a threesome with his Destrehan High School English teachers can’t be a victim. Our society says he’s supposed to be a real man, and real men aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, scared, confused, weak, or taken advantage of. Ever.
As soon as I read the story about the junior at the Louisiana high school having a threesome with his teachers Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, I already knew what I would hear out of people’s mouths. It was going to be a lot of “Damn! That boy is lucky as hell!” and “Man, I wish I could’ve done that shit in high school!” Many folks believe that young men are supposed to be horny and virile, and this boy was ahead of the rest in his progression into manhood. The fact that a 16-year-old was “handling” two grown women at the same time proves that he is the epitome of an alpha male. Yet, throughout all these teachings about what “real men” do versus what “bitches” do, our society has lost sight of one important truism about this entire situation: We are teaching our boys a messed up version of what manhood truly is. We are also limiting their ability to think, react, and behave like CHILDREN and be recognized as VICTIMS in certain instances.
The undeniable fact of the situation is that there are double standards in how we treat boys and girls. If a girl were double-teamed by two male teachers, the outrage would be palpable, the scrutiny of the entire school board would trend on Twitter for a week, and activist groups would be advocating for major changes in the education system, which are all reasonable reactions. But there’s a noticeable silence in how we collectively react to boys being sexually assaulted or the victims of statutory rape. Chances are, these female teachers will get stiff but fair punishments, and we will sweep this story under the rug until the next time it happens, which has become all too frequent. Seeing as how we live in a society in which sexual orientation and prowess are indicative of manliness, I’m not surprised that there isn’t more outrage for this 16-year-old boy. We’ve already come to the conclusion that men aren’t victims, and it plays out in how we view many different situations.
The social experiment above shows that when a woman abuses a man, we laugh at his inability to actualize his alpha male hood. When a man is raped by a woman (even at gunpoint), we balk at the idea that a man can even be raped in the first place, because we ask ourselves ‘what virile male would turn down sex?’ Hell, we even manage to make men who are raped by other men as objects of hilarious disdain. Dropping the soap is not only the most acceptable rape-joke in the world, but it’s also how we differentiate between strength and weakness, because only a weak man would allow another man to overpower and violate him. In a society where we deem men to be too strong to be “seriously” assaulted by women or raped, why does it surprise anyone that we won’t allow this young man to be recognized as a victim?
The accumulation of bedpost notches is one of the earliest tests of manhood that boys are subjected to. Many boys lose their virginity at incredibly early ages, in ridiculously disgusting situations, but that is seen as normal by so many people in our society, that the boy sees no other recourse than to count that as a win, even when he’s suffering with a deep inner-conflict. I have a friend who lost his virginity at age 9—to a prostitute—that his father purchased for him. To talk with him about that incident and the fact that he has slept with over 200 women since then, is to wade through the complexity of hyper masculinity. He isn’t proud about how he lost his virginity nor is he really ashamed of it either. In his mind, it was a compulsory part of his male development which he charges to the game, and has moved on from—without realizing that sleeping with 200 women and not being able to foster a solid relationship with any of them, is most likely a result of a deep emotional trauma that he’s carrying around inside. And that’s the main problem with this issue. The men cheering on this boy are mostly dudes who are equally as negatively impacted by our society as this young boy now is. It’s the sick leading the sick. Until we start to redefine what it means to be a man, and discontinue paralleling it against our contrived notions of “acting like a bitch”, these situations will continue to play out again, and again, and again.
About the author
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site ThisIsYourConscience.com, he’s an author of the book “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer” and a weekly contributor for UPTOWN Magazine. He can be reached via Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at This Is Your Conscience.
This article originally appeared on Uptown Magazine.
Photo credit: Charles Roffey/flickr