My girlfriend recently asked me what level of truth was contained in this article, specifically about item #3 – There’s a reason for that emotional repression. She wanted to know if teenage boys are really that violent. To quote the article:
Almost every adult man walking around spent at least part of his adolescence dealing with sourceless, purposeless anger and a desire for violent catharsis. It’s like having a little devil on your shoulder constantly making the same unhelpful suggestion.
“I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this test Friday, I can’t cope.”
“Have you considered… VIOLENCE?”
“Shut up, shoulder devil, nobody asked you. Hmmm, what do I want for lunch…”
“Have you considered… VIOLENCE?”
“Shoulder devil that is NOT EVEN A FOOD.”
And so on. We spend years learning that our immediate emotional responses to things are absolutely not to be trusted. The first response to an emotional impulse must be to ignore it and repress it, just for safety. The men who didn’t learn that reflex? They’re the ones with criminal records for assault.
Well yeah, of course. I cited a few examples. Most trivially, often I’d simply imagine reaching out and exploding all the stuff nearby, anime-like, just for the hell of it. When inching through a crowded hallway I’d fantasize about pulling out an automatic rifle and mowing down everyone so I could get to my next class without obstruction – including pondering important details like how many clips I’d need based on different levels of bullet-penetration. And when society was unjust and unfair I railed against the world, demanding the existing order be torn down and the world be set aflame so we could fix this shit, ignoring my mentor’s rather reasonable queries as to what I’d put in it’s place (“We can figure that out once the old corrupt system has been swept away!”).
She was surprised by this, and I was surprised by her surprise. I did not realize that this was not common knowledge. Isn’t that what all media marketed to teen boys has revealed? Teenage boys fantasize about violence and power all the time. Possibly more than sex, honestly.
This post isn’t really adding anything to the conversation, simply throwing my support behind “Yeah, this really is what being a teen boy is usually like.” It is the reason I feel such a deep emotional resonance with certain monsters, and write long babbling posts about them.
Is there empirical evidence for this claim?
Which part? Teenage boys are the most violent demographic in every society I know of. There’s other claims in the article which I don’t think are well-supported. It claims this is due to testosterone, which I didn’t quote because I consider that to be a correlation at best. And the assertion that this is why men are emotionally repressed? Heck, I’m not even sure I agree that men actually *are* emotionally repressed, and if they are there’s probably a whole slew of reasons. Mainly I was supporting the statement that, for whatever reasons, we really idealize violence when we’re that age.
In particular “Almost every adult man walking around spent at least part of his adolescence dealing with sourceless, purposeless anger and a desire for violent catharsis. It’s like having a little devil on your shoulder constantly making the same unhelpful suggestion.”
Ah. No actual formal empirical data comes to mind. I would be surprised if this wasn’t actually true, and maybe there is data out there that I’m unaware of. But ultimate, no, I don’t have a citation to back up that claim.