I’m coming to the end of reading ‘How Not To Be A Boy’ by Robert Webb.
Every now and again I read a book which changes my perception on things. Occasionally I read a book that heals a part of me in some way. Sometimes I read a book that makes me laugh from my belly and cry from my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that does all of these things until now. Thanks for the Christmas present Mum!
Gender stereotyping and casual sexism are important matters to me and one I bang on about quite a bit at home. Robert Webb (I have an urge to call him Rob as I feel he’s a personal friend now but think that may come across as a little odd) beautifully describes what it’s like to be a male and have these conditions placed upon you.
The book has helped me understand the men past and present in my life in a much more real, relatable way. Those insights have sparked memories and realisations in me. My relationships with men from the get go were not straight forward or secure. Many small repeated traumatic incidences when growing up with the males in my life pretty much left me petrified of men. I now understand why I completely froze the first time I went to a youth dance and a boy came up to talk me. I think I told him to F**k off in the end and for anyone who knows me will realise how scared I must have felt for me to use that word! For years I thought I was a freak as I was desperate to be like the rest of my peers with a boyfriend but the thought filled me dread. Then at 21 I met someone very special. I was a complete emotional wreck so the relationship didn’t last but him and joining a group of friends which had young men in it healed enough in me not to be re-traumatised every time a man I didn’t know spoke to me. At 27 I met the next special man in my life and nearly 12 years later we are still together and he’s now my Husband.
It wasn’t until I started seeing male clients as a counsellor that old traumatic feelings started being stirred up again. I have an excellent supervisor who is a great facilitator of self-awareness and growth and through my academic trauma learning and training I’ve healed many of these deep rooted pains. Then reading this book has pieced everything together for me again deepening my understanding and naturally discharging remaining trauma.
I really enjoy having male clients now and can see how my style of therapy appeals to men as it gets you think about your feelings from a biological perspective. It’s not all touchy feely to start with which many men, due to social conditiioning, find terrifying.
I recommend the book for everyone but be aware there is a lot of swearing in it.