I have a new essay over at the lovely Uncanny Magazine, entitled “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box.” As a person who has an anxiety disorder, is a Nerd (though I still hate that word), and was socialized male, I feel pretty qualified to talk about these things. An excerpt:
Men often minimize their gender policing by calling it “teasing,” “ribbing,” or “ball–busting,” but it usually manifests as ridicule meant to point out behaviors which are not coded as masculine in an effort to correct them. This may be done with or without malice; parents, for example, may feel that by discouraging feminine–coded behaviors, they are protecting their sons from future ridicule by firmly correcting them early. Yet the cumulative effect of this is to circumscribe a section of acceptable behavior, such that by the time the average man reaches adulthood, he has internalized an extensive checklist of behaviors that must be avoided lest ridicule result. In essence, male children are subject to trauma in an effort to spare them from trauma.
Read the whole thing at the link above.