Okay, whew, crap be crazy yo. I just can’t seem to catch a break and some inspiration to build up a buffer, which is why these posts have been coming out at random times as of late.
I am still trying to get stuff together for this ritual idea I’m coming up with. But as I get into it, I’m realizing that just as important as what a boy does to become a man. It is when he does it.
Back when I got inspired to start doing this Men’s Day Wednesday project, it was based off a conversation I had with a second level priestess of (I think) Wicca. She insisted that boys should go through the rite at the same age girls did, about 12-13. Right about when puberty hits you.
I on the other hand, believed it best that the boy be declaired a man about age 16 however. This is for a couple reasons. One is that (as it has been drummed into our heads) boys “mature” slower than girls. I’m not entirely sure this is true, but I’m not going to argue the point. I’m going to run with it. The second part is the fact that at age 12-13, a boy isn’t ready to fulfill the duties of being a Man.
Humanity has, by and large, had our roles based on being “Producers.” Men produced Labor, and women produced Children. This is a key thing for deciding when a boy should become a man. The Idea through out much of history is that Men worked hard and supplied their families with shelter and food, and in turn wives provided sex and heirs, and heirs provided shelter and food when Father and Mother were too old.
In an equitable world where both genders were provided equal rights and duties when it came to production of young, it would be acceptable to tell a boy of 12-13 “Okay, you can get it up, that means you can make a girl pregnant. Congrats, you’re a man now dog, go forth and rut.” Which, when you think about it, is pretty much what happened with girls. “Hooray, you can bleed out of your crotch in an extremely painful and humiliating manner that will attract every predator for miles and can carry young. You’re a woman, let’s find you a man to rut you.” The fact that this was done as much by the women of a people as it was by the men is…probably horrifying.
The problem is that there is no such equitable world. If anything, it’s always been rather inequitable. Women, as a rule, got to dictate who they mated with (or at least, women got to dictate who other women mated with, the individual in question often had no choice depending on what society you were in. Sparta and Norse societies are exceptions that I know of, but that’s for a different article). Men, on the other hand, if they wanted to be respected members of the tribe and not get killed, had to no only prove themselves via hunting, warfare, or farming, that they were “good mates” who could provide a safe and stable home in which to raise young.
So while a girl of 12 who could carry a child was fully able to fulfil the duties of a woman, a boy of the same age would be unable to. He would have no property, and eve if given property, wouldn’t have the physical might needed to fight, farm, or even really hunt on a level that would provide for a wife, much less children. The fact that he would be in competition with people who could do these things on a far superior level would place him at a harsh disadvantage, potentially one that could cripple him for the rest of his life. However, at about age 16 a young man would have enough physical development to engage in most, if not all of these activities, with success.
So how does this stack up in today’s world? Most people aren’t having kids until they’re late twenties or early thirties. And more and more, men aren’t needed as producers of labor to support a wife or their children. (That doesn’t mean they aren’t wanted, as the thriving child support and alimony industries show. There used to be a joke about guys not wanting to marry when they could get the sex without it. I think at this point we’re reaching the point where a similar joke could be made about women not wanting to marry when they could get the guy’s money without it).
So, production doesn’t have much to do with Manliness (well, not as much). But we still have to do with the fact that human evolution still puts us at about age 16 for guys to really start to develop mentally and physically towards manhood. The fact that it’s only in the last 60 years that we’ve stepped away from the traditional model means we haven’t had time to adapt. It helps that you can really start working when you turn 16, which is still a mark of adulthood. If you pay taxes, you’re officially a adult.
More on this later, I think.