Tough Guise

A word from Pip…

As well as being a PE Teacher and Outdoor Adventure Instructor for much of my life, I also worked in Juvenile Justice in Australia and the USA. 

Most of the young men I’ve worked with in a Juvenile Detention Centre in Oregon, USA and within the Youth Justice Conferencing Scheme in NSW, Australia were not ‘bad to the core’ but their heads were filled with the lies told about masculinity – lies which often promoted violence as a way to solve problems. 

This was not their fault! Society plays a role in sustaining the lies that are told to boys and young men.

One consequence of these lies is the need for boys to adopt a ‘tough guise. In order to become what they believe is a ‘real man’ they adopt ‘masculinity masks to gain power, approval and to survive. The ‘lies’ are pervasive. They are the soup these boys swim in. It is not their fault but they bear the consequences. The lies can ruin their lives and those connected to them. The ‘tough guise’ or hyper-masculinity even threatens the survival of the planet.

However, I have seen that boys like these can become wonderful men and that many really want to! They wanted be like and find love.

It is up to the elders to provide support and guidance so that our boys get that chance. 

I’ve also been lucky to have trained with or been motivated by the work of some excellent men in the masculinity movement. Jackson Katz is one such man.