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Deep Secrets

Deep Secrets

Niobe Way
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbqzr
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  • Book Info
    Deep Secrets
    Book Description:

    Deep Secrets reveals the false story we tell about boys, friendships, and human nature. Niobe Way argues that boys experience a “crisis of connection" as they approach manhood. Human needs and capacities are given a sex (female) and a sexuality (gay), and thus are discouraged for those who are neither.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06136-1
    Subjects: Psychology, Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. [i]-[viii])
  2. Table of Contents (pp. [ix]-[x])
  3. CHAPTER 1 THE HIDDEN LANDSCAPE OF BOYS’ FRIENDSHIPS (pp. 1-36)

    It is the middle of June and the New York City heat is on full blast, making it even hotter in the empty high school classroom where 15-year-old Justin¹ and his interviewer José sit in the late afternoon. Justin, whose mother is Puerto Rican and whose father is Irish and Italian American, is being interviewed for my school-based research project on boys’ social and emotional development. There is neither an air conditioner nor a fan in the classroom, so Justin, in his baggy jeans and t-shirt, pulls out a notebook from his backpack and starts to fan himself as he...

  4. CHAPTER 2 INVESTIGATING BOYS, FRIENDSHIPS, AND HUMAN NATURE (pp. 37-88)

    My informal study of boys’ friendships began with my second to youngest brother. Five years my junior, Lucan as a young boy had a best friend, John, with whom he spent every waking hour, playing, laughing, and talking. One day, my mother caught the two of them cutting up her much loved childhood rag doll and took both boys to task. Looking sheepish, John went home, and he never returned. For weeks, Lucan would cross the street to John’s house to see if he was there, only to be told by John’s parents that he did not want to play....

  5. Part I: Friendships during Early and Middle Adolescence
    • CHAPTER 3 “SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO SPILL YOUR HEART OUT TO SOMEBODY” (pp. 91-116)

      Teenage boys—the same boys who have sex, video games, and sports on their minds and are “activity” or “object” oriented—spoke about “circles of love,” “spilling your heart out to somebody,” “sharing deep depth secrets,” and “feeling lost” without their male best friends. They suggested a capacity for and interest in emotionally intimate friendships that have rarely been noted. Although they did indeed talk about girls, video games, and sports, they also talked about sharing secrets with their closest friends, knowing that these friends will not joke around when they want to talk about “serious” topics, and expressing themselves...

    • CHAPTER 4 BOYS WITH FEELINGS (pp. 117-142)

      In the midst of a twenty-first-century culture that says that boys do not have the capacity or interest to be as emotionally astute or as relational as girls, the boys in my studies spoke with great passion about their intimate male friendships and the secrets and feelings they share together. Directly contesting the popular and scholarly view that the testosterone surges of puberty makes boys insensitive and activity oriented, these boys spoke with such emotional eloquence that they sounded “like girls.” Other studies of middle and high school boys suggest that the boys in my studies are not unique: boys,...

    • CHAPTER 5 NICK AND GEORGE: STORIES OF RESISTANCE (pp. 143-180)

      One of the central lessons I learned from being a counselor with adolescents is that any theme that you hear across adolescents sounds different when you listen to an individual’s life story. Intimate male friendships were common across the boys, particularly during early and middle adolescence. Yet there were subtleties to these patterns and ways they fit into the larger context of a life that get lost when one only focuses on the patterns. To reveal both the similarities and differences across boys, the friendship experiences of four boys are presented in this book. Nick and George are the focus...

  6. Part II: Friendships during Late Adolescence
    • CHAPTER 6 “WHEN YOU GROW UP, YOUR HEART DIES” (pp. 183-208)

      A simple question asked by an interviewer provokes a simple response that reveals everything about friendships among boys during late adolescence.¹ The question, asked of each boy in my research, is: “How have your friendships changed since you were a freshman in high school?” The responses of three boys in their senior years are:

      I don’t know, maybe, not a lot, but I guess that best friends become close friends. So that’s basically the only thing that changed. It’s like best friends become close friends, close friends become general friends and then general friends become acquaintances. So they just …...

    • CHAPTER 7 AS BOYS BECOME MEN (pp. 209-228)

      As boys grow up and become men who by definition are not supposed to have or reveal vulnerable emotions, they disconnect from their desires, their friendships, and ultimately from themselves. Some of the boys in my studies were able to directly express their sadness over the loss of trust and friendships; others were more firmly entrenched in dictates of manhood and simply said, “I don’t care.” The boys’ desires, however, were almost always clear. They wanted the intimacy that they had when they were younger. They wanted to be able to share their thoughts and feelings with their friends so...

    • CHAPTER 8 FERNANDO AND DANNY (pp. 229-261)

      As with closeness and intimacy, the themes of loss and distrust in boys’ friendships varied across boys and within individual stories. The patterns presented in Chapter 6 only begin to reveal such nuances. Listening to Fernando and Danny, we begin to hear the more subtle variations that provide insight into the reasons for and the ways of experiencing such patterns in their friendships. Like Nick and George, Fernando and Danny have numerous similarities and differences, and it is precisely through this combination that we are able to see the form and content of the loss and distrust among teenage boys....

    • CHAPTER 9 THE CRISIS OF CONNECTION (pp. 262-282)

      Dana Edell, a researcher at New York University who was interested in exploring the memories of teenage girls and how these memories reflected their desires, conducted a research project that asked girls to recall the story line of the classic fairy tale turned Disney movieThe Little Mermaid. Sharing a widely held belief that memories provide insight into the psyche or into our current feelings and expectations,¹ Dana interviewed dozens of girls throughout New York City. Most girls, she found, described the plot as a love story between a girl who is a mermaid and a boy who is human...

  7. NOTES (pp. 283-314)
  8. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. 315-318)
  9. INDEX (pp. 319-326)