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Byron C Clark @byroncclark
, 30 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I'm going to write a thread on a couple of concepts that have been controversial this year; "victim culture" and and "toxic masculinity" will talk a bit about my own experience.

I'll start with a content warning for sexual abuse, (I'll avoid being graphic )
Do you ever do a Google News search for your own high school? Maybe you see kids wining prizes or beating another school at rugby. Here's what I see when I search my old school:
For decades boys who attended that school were sexually abused. Many of them are only coming forward now, much later in life, about the abuse they suffered.

While I don't know if any of this was still going on while I was there, their silence doesn't surprise me
Schools like this one are very much about taking in boys and turning out men, with their own definition of what it means to be a man of course.

Some of this is explicit, some of it is what educationalist Ivan Illich called "the hidden curriculum"
I read Illich at 17 after dropping out of St Bedes. He has been a great influence on my world view, and his work was invaluable for the five years I spend teaching in poly-technical education, I'll come back to that later.
The school has a thing called the "six pillars" areas they expect boys to achieve in. Its fairy benign, just a more poncy version of what you'd get in state schools. Though it is tough for kids who are rubbish at sport (one of the pillars)
but here's one of the hidden curriculum things I learned about being a man: boys fight, but boys don't victimise each other.

The school had a well known bullying problem then. And when a boy reported bullying, all involved would get an "early bird" detention...
what this meant, the one time I told on one my bullies, was that the two of us had to go to the school library before classes started. I sat there silently while he made threatening gestures at me, miming what he'd do to me for putting him there. I never told on a bully again.
This idea to not be a victim, or not let yourself, is a thing about masculinity that's wider than one school. In my teenage years heavy metal was an escape for me. Here's a song that really spoke to me, Type O Negative's "Todd's Shipyard Gods"
those are some deep lyrics:

Scared little boy hiding amongst shadows,
ashamed of tears exposing ancient pain

and then later

if you're going to weep keep it from sunshine,
so no one sees

and then the refrain

I won't cry,
above all things boy, be a man
I probably cried a lot when I was in high school, but not in front of others.
I'd actually been taught not to cry much earlier, I was told off for it in primary school, when I was seven.
lets talk about sex for a moment. We didn't learn a lot about it at school. But I remember a religious education class where we copied down the "sexual sins" I remember copying down the word "homosexuality" which was underneath "bestiality"

oh it was a different time? 2001.
bullying was often heavily sexualised. Boys were called gay (an abomination, we were taught) and then threatened by other boys with sexual assault, told they would enjoy it, because they were gay.
This was deeply unpleasant for those of us who were straight. it must have been a whole different kind of awful for boys who *were* gay (and some would have been, but no one was out in that environment).
so here's the values you're taught, one way or another;
sex is dirty and sinful, being a victim is shameful, and being open about being a victim will likely land you in trouble. Don't cry- don't let others know you're hurting.
come to think of it "don't let others see you're hurting" was the kind of practically useless anti-bullying message we received
so in that environment, which was probably even worse in the 20th century, I'm not surprised boys who were sexuality assaulted by authority figures didn't come forward. I'm glad they are now. I hope justice is served.
So when I hear become complain millennial's have a "victimhood culture" I think, good. for a long time we lived an an anti-victimhood culture. And victims suffered in silence, their abusers unpunished.
Which brings me to the other phrase "toxic masculinity" I've encountered a number of men who get offended by this phrase, thinking it means all masculinity is toxic, and that being a man is inherently bad
not all masculinity is toxic, but a masculinity that teaches boys to hide emotion, never let themselves be victims, and to bully or even abuse others, that's toxic.
1 in 6 men will be sexuality abused. And you know what? for women it's 1 in 3.
this is what toxic masculinity is. Victims are all genders, but the abusers are almost always men.
My former school may be a particularly bad example, but a lot of us are growing up with toxic ideas of what it means to be a man.

And my school was another claim to fame that someone would say isn't something to be proud of either...
they produced more Members of Parliament than another other New Zealand school. Some of the most powerful people in the country came out of the environment I described here.
I don't think there are all that many there today, since parliament is becoming less of a literal "old boys club"

The ones I remember seem to have been mostly active in preventing any reform on women's reproductive rights. That's a whole other discussion, but not unrelated.
I said I'd come back to my career in education. After that time teaching in tertiary education, I decided to train as a secondary teacher for greater job stability.

In less than 6 months I dropped out. Going back into a school environment awakened something dormant in me
that something turned out to be post traumatic stress disorder.

Now my time at high school isn't the only contributing factor (I've been in therapy then counselling ever since getting the diagnosis) but it's a big part of it
now I've learned not us this as a way to dismiss my own struggles (that's something people with PTSD often do) but I know there are people who had it far worse than me. Those who were abused, or those who were in that environment who were gay, or non-binary, or transgender.
I'm not any of those things. I'm comfortable being man, but being a man doesn't, and shouldn't, mean the things I was taught it means.
I'll be happy when that school closes (and it will one day, single sex schools don't have a place in modern society, again a different discussion, but not unrelated) I'll go and watch it being demolished.

But I'll be a lot happier when we burn toxic masculinity to the ground.
post script: I am terrible for typos, but I think the meaning can be inferred from the context in the above tweets
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