I have been reading the book The Essential Difference, which describes the different developments and functions of the male-brain and female-brain. The author is very careful about being seen to make a value statement about this; he is not saying that one is better or stronger than another; merely that a typical male has a brain which functions differently from that of a typical female. He gives good evidence and science about this, so I am happy to follow his conclusions. His thesis is that a male-brain develops so as to be a systemetizer of the world around it, and the female-brain is more geared towards being empathetic towards those with whom it comes into contact.
I don’t particularly enjoy violent films, and certainly wouldn’t watch a film specifically for blood and guts, but it has been interesting to compare and contrast two violent films. City of God is a Brazilian film about life in a shanty town and Pulp Fiction is a film about men shooting each other.
I am reading some more about masculinity. I am half way through Remaking Men, by David Tacey, and Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge.
The Eldredge book was recommended in an e-mail from Pilgrim’s Progress. Some of it is good passionate stuff; I certainly think the Church does not provide men with an adequate template for them to model their own masculinity upon.
Since lecturing on sexuality as part of our ethics Lent course I have been looking for material concerning what is means to be a man.
I started watching Vanilla Sky, and was really struck by the opening scene of Tom Cruise waking up alone and being perfectly happy (Radiohead track "Everything in its right place" playing), then setting off in his Ferrari, only to discover New York totally empty. He then runs down the road in panic, before waking and realising it was a dream.
I think I could use that scene to talk about the slightly contradictory attitude that some men have, of seeking perfect emotional isolation (for example the Hugh Grant character in About a boy), and yet also feeling terror at being alone.