Our gender systems sucks for men, too

I thought I might branch out a bit on this blog. I've been hesitant to write about anything other than tech talk and related issues. I'm still a little worried, but I figure if I want to write about something, I should write about it. So here we go...

I've been reading and learning a lot about gender and sexuality over the last few years. It's still a bit of a new world, and I'm certainly not qualified to talk about it outside of my own experiences. I do want to share some things I read, so this is the start.

In this article on AlterNet – What About the Men? Why Our Gender System Sucks for Men, Too – there are some very interesting (to me) points. A paragraph about men and getting support for relationships:

Emotional toughness can also cause men pain; if you can’t open up emotionally to another person, it makes it more difficult to have friends. The social support gap is large and growing—men tend to report having fewer close friends and being less connected to their communities than women. For far too many men, romantic relationships are the only acceptable venue for them to express their feelings (and even there, the idea that men hate emotional intimacy limits them). In fact, men tend to report more distress due to a strained romantic relationship, possibly because women are far more likely to have a group of friends to help with the social support. The nervously joking societal construct of "bromance" arises from the notion that having a close male friend is something weird enough that it needs its own name.

This hits close to home. I really wish I was more comfortable discussing relationships with my male friends. It does seem like a topic about as far away from acceptable as a topic can be. I don't know why, it just feels that way. I really do think that I, and perhaps many other men I know, are so used to not talking about relationships. This is almost always a bad thing, since it often ends with emotions being shut in, no way to discuss feelings... Overcoming my unease at writing about this is hard enough, let alone the thought of my male friends reading this. But it's important, and here's my first step.