The Boy Code
Boys Will Be Men opens with a gathering of adult ex-offenders who are participating in an unlearning violence program. They tell us how, as boys, they learned to be men. To be tough, to enforce one's control and authority over others, often with violence, were lessons they learned at an early age.
Taking to heart the oft-repeated edict that boys don't cry, these men found that when they reached adulthood, they had little or no capacity for intimate relations. Harvard clinical psychologist WILLIAM POLLACK, author of the best-selling book Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Manhood, tracks the origins of this conditioning.
He tells us that, at birth, boy babies are more emotive and more expressive than girl babies are. Yet by the time they enter the second grade, teachers and parents have difficulty reading the emotions on a boy's face. The cause of this radical shift is what Pollack calls the Boy Code -- a social message, transmitted through parents and other caretakers, that one should stand on one's own two feet, cut Mama's apron strings, be a stoic little man and be emotionally independent, long before a child is developmentally ready to achieve that.