We have all watched David Attenborough’s ‘The life of Mammals’, and watched the one up manship of the male species seeking dominance over each other for the female species. Well, one wonders when this posturing and posing begins in humans. Is it when we are 3 and 4 and the little boys are playing with their trucks or is it when they are playing doctors and nurses with the girls. I wonder how many little girls ever got to be the doctor? I know I never managed that and it always infuriated me!
I also remembering wanting to be a boy, just because they seemed to get a better deal than ‘we’ women got, for example, they could always eat what they want and not gain weight; they never grew breasts; they never had to shave their legs and of course, childbirth was never going to be a problem. However, I have recently been observing the male species in a similar way to Attenborough, and although my observation have no significant scientific evidence, in actual fact, none at all. It has become clear that the male species is a rather vulnerable species.
Firstly there is the pose: This is a way of standing that promotes dominance over others. I was sitting in a relatively well know burger restaurant in the Marais with my children, having a quick meal as we had a lot of work to do. It was quiet, after all it was a Monday evening and the waiter who looked like an innocent version of a hardened British punk, (with his Mohican hairstyle, his armband tatoo with black swirls and a large heart in the middle on his upper arm) was desperately trying to look tough but failed. Clearly, he had already succeeded in getting into a fight as he had a bandage around his hand, whilst I don’t know what happened, stereotypically, I can be safe in saying that he got into a fight. And he was posing in front of the other waiter, having a ‘blokey’ type of banter. However the posing meant swaying like a boxer from foot to foot and not been totally comfortable with the placement of his arms and hands. One minute they are in the pockets, the next he has folded them across his stomach, with the traditional defensive look that we are all guilty of using. Obviously, speaking too much was a part of the posturing whilst his friend was more of a poser. A little more sure of himself and a little more senior within the staff of the restaurant. Another friend came in with a similar hair style or he was arriving for his shift and his traditional canvas, army-green bag had the words “Fuck off” written on it. They were not that impressive, but I suspect a similar aged girl would be totally taken with their behaviour. These are the 20-something rebels or an attempt at being rebellious but in today society, rebellion is much harder to do. They are striving to dominate each other.
Posturing and posing seems to be ‘genetically coded’ in the male species. Even with my 18-year-old and his friends behave in this manner. Firstly, they have the hand shake, that involves a combination of thumb, fist and finally shoulder bump gestures but what is worse is the language used. My son’s language turns from a relatively eloquent and sophisticated diction to a gutteral, almost inhuman language that involves his voice deepening significantly and his vast vocabulary being reduced to ‘Yo, My man, dude’ etc…I am constantly horrified by this digression and wonder why he only does this in front of his male friends. It is rather embarrassing for a mother to witness, especially since I am involved in education.
This posturing and posing does not stop with the twenty-somethings or eighteen year olds, equally I have witnessed this posturing and posing with my male friends, who are my age or older. This game however changes, language returns to normal or the range of normal and this posturing involves their wit and intelligence. I recently watched two friends ‘debate’ in a sophisticated manner when the French finished their compulsory military training. Both were determined that they were right and insistent that their historical knowledge was accurate. I wasn’t sure if they were trying to impress me or whether they were far too competitive to let the issue go, technically it was irrelevant, but I was ignored and had to watch the dialogue take place, it was like a tennis match, although this time one of them agreed to admit he may be wrong. If they were trying to impress me, my friend who graciously backed down came across as more impressive than the other friend as he allowed them to both look good in front of me.
This behaviour change when with their buddies is fascinating but I don’t think it is necessarily needed to impress women anymore, especially since time has progressed to the point that we are meant to be more equal. Still it is amusing to observe.
- Posture and Pain Tolerance (bettermovement.org)