Men won’t express emotions. Men can’t express emotions. Male emotions have been repressed. Men get to say whatever they want whenever they want as long as they always appear strong.
In this – to my mind, genuinely interesting – set of clips we see men talk about their own engagements with emotional repression. Featuring: Sean Preston, editor of Open Pen magazine; Harry Gallon, author of freshly-published novel Every Fox Is A Rabid Fox (Dead Ink); David Ralfe, theatremaker currently developing a show on maleness and masculinity called Captain Simon; Fernando Sdrigotti, editor of Minor Literatures and author of Dysfunctional Males (La Casita Grande).
When I find away to articulate this, without getting defensive, I want to write about the impact of testosterone on a man’s ability to cry and what I have experienced as an essential difference between the way that men and women process emotions. Given that gender may well be a continuum and such differences are difficult to measure and quantify, transgender men commonly talk about the impact of T on emotional response (among other factors). Prior to starting T, in the final years of a stressful, messy marriage I felt like a wrung out rag, day after day. Tears were almost constant and never provided any release. Within 12 hours of my first shot, I was aware of an immediate difference. Over the 17 years since that time, crying at sad films or movies is no problem and I feel more at touch with my emotions (mood disorder notwithstanding), but a truly cathartic cry is almost impossible. I liken it to continually bashing yourself against a brick wall until finally you crash through and collapse, bruised and bloodied, into completely dissembled mess. Hormones have a significant role, no matter what feminists want us to believe. And trust me, for those of who make that journey from female to male it comes as a shock because it counteracts everything we have been trained to understand about men.
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