Why has boys’ rate of suicide been increasing so much more quickly than girls’ recently?
Girls are preparing for a world that increasingly allows them to be whatever they wish to be – homemakers, mothers, secretaries, executives. Girls can perform outside the home, nurture inside the home, or do some combina tion, depending on their personalities. Boys must still perform outside the home, no matter what their personalities. For some boys, life is still a round peg in a square hole, as it used to be for both sexes. This is especially true for gay boys, who still have little permission to be “feminine," versus gay girls, who now have much more permission to be "masculine.” And
perhaps as a result, gay teenage boy’s commit suicide three times more often than gay teenage girls. u
Previously, both sexes followed a narrow path of expectations to love – she: attract, resist, he: pursue, persist. Now she has the new option to pursue; he has the old expectation to pursue and no new optioas (if he expects to find love). In the past, both sexes were anxious about sex and pregnancy. Now the pill minimizes her anxiety and condoms increase his. Now the pimple-faced boy must still risk rejection while also overcoming his own fear of herpes and AIDS and reassuring her there is nothing to fear. He must still do the sexual risk taking, hut now he can be put in jail if he takes risks too quickly or be called a wimp if he doesn’t take them quickly enough.
A girl now has the option to take the pill or not; a boy’s option does not include knowing if she is taking the pill or not. Previously, pregnancy meant trouble to both the boy and the girl, but even more to the girl. Currently, pregnancy for a girl means the option of a quick abortion (no matter how the boy feels) or of suing the boy for eighteen years’ worth of child support (no matter how the boy feels). In brief, today her feelings matter, his don’t Each time she has sex, she has an option, each time he has sex, he risks being the prisoner of her decision for the rest of his life.
Throughout the industrialized world, because boys have not found relief from performing, their adolescent games still prepare them for performing. Boys still dare each other to jump in front of moving trains, speeding cars, out of trees, or steal13 in an almost ritual reenactment of their genetic heritage of proving their willingness to sacrifice their lives to protect.