In chapter five of Writing a Woman’s Life Heilbrun asserts that women have long understood and exemplified the three necessary qualities for friendship: intimacy, admission of vulnerability, and the openness of the loving gesture. She then details two reasons in which intimacy is beyond the grasp of most males. The first reason is that “in the Judeo-Christian tradition, manliness has been raised to an ideal perceived as warrior like, free of the softer virtues of nurturance and gentle affection” (102). The second reason is that “given wives by the culture, men had nurturers licensed for use on the premises” (102). She rationalizes that men have freed themselves of the need for intimacy, and placed the burden of intimacy onto females. Heilbrun asserts that these two reasons explain why men refrain from expressing emotions that could be considered feminine. These men have distinctly defined themselves as “not women and certainly not their mothers”.
Heilbrun’s philosophy about men is still alarmingly accurate, but seems to be more relevant from my grandfather and father’s generations then for my generation. The first and pretty much the only memory I have of my father showing raw affection, emotion, and true care was when I was twelve. My younger brother Anthony, who was eight at the time and my father were having a baseball catch in our side yard. My father always enjoyed having a catch with Anthony, as he was the one who showed the most promising athletic ability of all of his three sons. The sun was setting beyond the trees on Lancelot Lane on that picturesque spring day, and the visibility of the seems of the barely white baseball was being slowly diminished. Anthony in trying to show off how hard he could throw ...
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...efinitely tend more toward my mother, who cannot even keep a dry eye when watching a performance on the popular television show American idol. I have broken down and cried in front of my family many more times then I would have like to.
I am far from good at controlling and suppressing my emotion. If something is bothering me those around me either hear about it directly or can tell from my body language. Instead of our family’s rock, maybe I am a piece of nice glass furniture who is easily breakable but nice to have around. I wonder what Heilbrun would make of me. Most do not consider me warrior like and I have no intention of being a warrior, yet I can still bear my emotions, admit my vulnerabilities and conduct loving gestures. While I have distinguished myself as not female I have not distinguished myself as not like my mother. Intimacy is not beyond my grasp.
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