FATHERS have been encouraged by a Perth author to find the nurturer within to be good role models for their sons and counter the dominant culture of violence and competition.
Darrell Brown, author and speaker on fatherhood, told about 30 people at a forum held at the Ruth Faulkner Library in Belmont last week that the “manning up” culture had had a detrimental and destabilising effect on boys.
He said the hyper-masculinity of the current male culture encouraged boys to “man up, stop crying and suppress their emotions”.
“The cultural archetype of masculinity therefore is a man who is strong, self-contained and doesn’t show any emotion,” Brown said.
“He gets things done and if there’s a cost, he takes that cost and internalises it.”
The author of Raised By Our Childhood Voices was hosted by the City of Belmont at the library last Wednesday.
“Raising boys in this environment does nothing to help them in the processing of their own emotions,” he said.
One of the consequences of this behaviour was that as boys became teenagers they lost the narrative they needed to communicate their feelings.
“Instead they suppress any pain, hurt or suffering and bury it inside as they model their own fathers in this warped journey to manhood,” he said.
Brown said boys were told to toughen up, suppress their emotions and reject most things feminine.
But there were ways that fathers could push back against these social constructs and teach their sons that it was all right to express themselves emotionally, he said.
“By examining their own childhood and changing the things that didn’t work for them many fathers are opening up emotionally to life and dealing with matters of the heart,” he said.
He encouraged fathers to consider taking part in a one-day Men and Relationships workshop on September 3 or the 2016 Men’s Gathering from November 18-20.