the masks we wear as victims
Being a man and a victim: The Masks We Wear
weather we be victims of male genital mutilation at the nads of one or both zealot christin parents and some sick minded fuck of a quakck doctor
victims of sexual molestation and rape asa child victim of a pedophile
child victims of our own parents emotionally manipulative brainwashing with the guilt trips and the black mail over their wretched religion for refusing to be ensalved to it ata young age
or victims due to emotional physical and psychological abuse due to public education and a school staff that just cant be bothered to care about the bully victims well being day to day where the victims thoughts feelings and most basic of human rights are concerned where gay bashing hate speech andf hate crimes in the victims life come into play over time
we all wear our masks in our day to day lvies and throughout our lives due to each of us in some ways or anothe r having been robbed of the right to live a so called normal life in our being made through some act of grief and tragedy a victim by a society community and governemtn that jsut does not give a damn for our most pbasic of human rights due to it viewing us and treating us at that yougn age as being less of a person and more a unliving unfeeling unthinking piece of property that has less rights then even a animal or a pet for that matter where the governemnts view that a a child is very little more thenmere property that belongs to its parents or said parents families where the governemnt is concerned
we all have our masks our skars our reasons for being the persons we are in our day to day life when it comes to this being the side of the person that we show the world in our day to day life
As a child, my favorite superhero was Batman. What drew me to him was not just his toughness, his stoicism, and his resolve not to kill anyone, but specifically the mask he wore. This was somewhat clear in Tim Burton’s films, but more so in Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series.
In Batman: TAS, Batman is the real person. Bruce Wayne is the mask he wears. I picked up on that immediately, and it resonated because I understood what Batman was doing. You cannot suffer through that much pain and remain unchanged. But you also cannot walk around wearing that pain. People just cannot accept it. So you learn to wear a mask.
This plays a major role in Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Fair warning: the following contains spoilers from The Dark Knight Rises.
In The Dark Knight Rises, the character John Blake reveals to Bruce Wayne that he knows Bruce is Batman. Blake explains that when he was a kid his mother died, but he could not remember it well. He did, however, remember his father being murdered, and the anger of that stayed with him. He says to Bruce that people say they understand, but they do not know. They try to understand, and for a while they do. But eventually they expect you to move on, to let go of the anger and pain, and that is something you cannot do. So then they send you to therapy, put you in foster care or in group homes. Blake explains that it took him a while to learn that he had to wear a mask to hide his anger so that people would accept him.
When Bruce visited the boys’ home that Blake lived at years ago, Blake immediately saw through Bruce’s mask and realized that Bruce had to be Batman. (Oddly enough, when Blake finishes, Bruce does not even deny being Batman.) He knew because it was the same mask he learned to wear.
I share Blake’s experience. It took me a while to realize that I needed to hide what I actually feel because people could not handle it. I learned to hide my fears and anger as a child, not only so that I would not get it worse at home, but also so that no one at school would find out what was happening. But I never learned not to wear the pain. By the time I was in college, it was obvious to anyone who spent any time with me that I was damaged in some way. This made them treat me either with kid gloves, try to fix me, or try to talk me into moving on.
But I could no more move on than Blake or Batman could. The experiences I went through shaped the person I became. They are a part of me as much as, if not more than, anything else. I need my pain, guilt, and anger. That does not mean I cannot overcome them or that I will let them rule me, but I cannot simply pretend nothing happened.
So I learned to wear a mask. I learned to act more sociable. I learned to chitchat, to smile, to blend in. The person that my former co-workers and classmates know is not the real me. It is the facade I created to fit in.
Once I got caught dropping the mask. A friend who knows about my past called while I was at work, and because I was so used to talking to him normally, I slipped back into my usual self. One of my co-workers overheard the conversation, and afterward asked if something was wrong because I sounded cold.
My mask lets me fit in, but it does not fix anything. The pain and guilt are still under the surface, and they often taint my relationships with other people because I do not want people to get close. As is evident in the Batman comics and films, you can only fake it for so long. Eventually someone will catch on. This happens several times in TDKR. Several people see through Bruce’s playboy persona. Others want that persona to become real.
In the film, Alfred makes a point about wanting Bruce to have stayed away from Gotham back in Batman Begins. He had hoped that he would be abroad one day, drinking at a cafe, look up, and see Bruce sitting at a table with a wife and maybe kids. They would see each other, but say nothing, and then Alfred would leave. Alfred essentially wanted Bruce to move on. He wants this out of love (indeed, Michael Caine’s performance is worthy of an Oscar nod because you truly believe he cares about Bruce Wayne), but he does not realize how deeply hurt Bruce is.
Eventually Alfred does get his wish, but not before Bruce goes through his own journey. I think many people misunderstand the purpose of the mask. They think people who use them are hiding from the truth when in reality the masks are part of the healing process. As I said, the suffering people experience will never leave them, but we can learn to cope with it by using masks. We can learn ways to navigate the world until we can get to a place where we either do not need the masks anymore or that they become such a part of us that they are less a mask than a tattoo.
The people in my life, especially my godson, youngest brother, and youngest cousin, are helping me make that transformation. I still wear the mask, but it is slowly becoming my tattoo. The warmer, open personality I faked for so long is now something I genuinely do.
These things take time, and Christopher Nolan shows it perfectly in his trilogy. While Bruce may never be “Bruce Wayne”, he also does not have to be “the Batman”. This is not just because he physically gives up the mantle, but also because he realizes that “Batman” is also a symbol for something bigger than one person. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that Bruce will always be Batman, but he does not have to always be the Batman. He can be the man without being the symbol.
That Blake takes up the Batman mantle shows this. Bruce has learned to cope with his anger, guilt, and pain. He takes on aspects of the Bruce Wayne mask he wore as true parts of himself because of his emotional growth. But Robin John Blake is not there yet. He still needs his “John Blake” mask, and he will keep that mask and become the symbol of “the Batman” until he, and Gotham, no loner needs them.
Re: the masks we wear as victims
Interesting post, interesting analogy. I have to write something every day or do something related to circumcision because it is the only thing that keeps me sane and going forward. It heals my brain although my brain will never be really healed again until I am intact. Intactness is healing. Health is wholeness and I am sure we will never be fully truly whole. We have lost that. We have been cut off. It would be better if there were at least a good reason for it, something that actually made sense. There is none of that with our condition.
Well guess what? Men are generally not allowed to be victims. Ever notice, it seems like women don`t have to wear a mask as much to get sympathy? Maybe they have to wear other type of masks, but not to get pity or acceptance or validation of their pain. Why? Because maybe they can still be functional. Well when men make their claim of suffering, people worry we are not going to be functional to anyone anymore. I think that is the big thing. They want to use us, for us to be useful. My question is always- if they wanted that, then why the hell did they cut us off and cut us apart, traumatize us so deeply, wound us, make us sexually (relationally) less functional. Unless of course they wanted us to function as warriors and soldiers in a military cult, or wanted to use us as objects and bank accounts somehow.
So we have to wear a mask because if we express grief, we are not meeting their (fucked up, dysfunctional) expectations. Well then so when we show our true faces (not only like batman but also Phantom of the Opera) they punish us with rejection, and when we wear a mask and be functional, they reward us, so that we become their bitches, their boys, their slaves or servants. Well, why should their expectations be the dominant ones? We are men, we are the ones who have a right to be dominant, or at least equal. If the world didn't want that, then it wouldn't have born us into the planet, but since it did, it is going to get that. When they don't meet OUR expectation, when they are fair and functional, then we can punish them, by removing attention, negative association, etc. We can state our expectations, that we expect to be able to grieve and express our sorrow, and the truth, etc. See, let's not get mad at society or people. That's just being a passive whiner. Let's train them how to relate to us. You see, people have to be trained how to relate to each other. People are always training each other, and someone is always more dominant. When you say 'I don't like this' and punish someone, then you are training them. Also you've got to give them incentive. You can't just expect them to want to listen to your sob story, so just give them incentive. Then you can take the mask down. This is what I relialize a lot of what being a man involves.
So I think that we can tell people, and society, but first we have to get into a relationship with them. We have to build a relationship or connection, and give them incentive to want to talk to us and learn about us. Then when we do that, then we hit them with it, with our circumcision trauma. That's my strategy. My parents and exgf and everybody are afraid I talk my mouth off in society and am stupid with how I reveal everything to everybody, since they think it is not practical. They advice me not to talk about this at my new job, at work. I'm 30 and i find this advice offensive, so I have to punish them and state my expectation to get my needs met. But what they don't realize is that I only talk about these issues with someone I've built a relationship with. In fact this is part of my goal in building relationships now. I want to change society, one person at a time, and I have to learn how to give them incentive to be interested in me and these things.Then, what mask am I required to wear? No matter how long you've known a person, you might not be that well connected to them and can't share deep things. Maybe you've only known a person for a few weeks, yet you can share with them anything. So it depends on some other force, not time alone. Of course it all must happen gradually over some degree of time- the x axis. It's just a question of the slope.
Ok you've inspired me to want to watch batman. I should have said that at the beginning. I found there was an interesting psychology of batman on youtube, which you might want to search for. I think the joker is also one who tells the truth more than the others, about society's disfunction, but is society really that disfunctional? Or are we all just being too passive, to clueless about how to get our needs met by stating and enforcing our expectations, and providing incentive? We really suffered though and I'm realizing that the circumcision trauma probably goes far deeper than almost everybody imagines. There is a pain circuit where there should be a pleasure circuit. I honestly don't know how anyone can be a doctor who does this sort of thing, or turn a blind eye. I honestly don't know what their conscience is telling them. Fine they are only human, but then they walk around with a big ego for being doctors. Nothing computes. I would like to burn them at the stake sometimes. Even that crazy lady behind the religious part of that film zeitgeist, she wrote a good article blasting circumcision and that made me love her completely as a human. It broke immediately all the bonds and walls from me not liking her as a scholar or cultural force. She can feel with her heart on this issue and that is so good and so important, and she will turn some people on to it.
I think we all* wear a mask to some degree, but some people don't realize it even, it is that unconscious. The more conscious we become of wearing it, the more ready we are to take it off, or only put it on as a game. I would like to throw it in the garbage. For functional purposes, I don't wear a mask. I just reveal different parts of my true self in their appropriate time, for I am not defined by this trauma even though it takes up a huge part of my psyche.
*by all I mean 99 percent of people in the world. There may be some who have led an idyllic life in the country with a loving functional nuclear family with healthy authority and leadership and foreskin intact and emotional expressiveness, not poker-faced neuroticism
Interesting post. For me what is powerful is learning how deep this issue goes in my soul/psyche
Re: the masks we wear as victims
way i see it as a victim, this matter of male genital mutilation has made each of us aware of our own personel inner darkness. that side of ourself that has the more violent uges we find ourself exploring in our darkest dreams and repress in our day to day lives.
that side of each of our persons that is much more intimately familier with the killer instincts minus the killers nature. its like a guy having the good angels heart and mind to a degree but with that person also having the devils hands as well
how a person comes to terms with their inner darkness and chooses to use it will deterimine what kind of quality of life that person can make for thier self in the long run and what kind of person he wil lbe in life.
its a lot liek how you choose to use a gun really. to serve and to protect in living your life for others protecting and keeping safe the ones you love in life. or instead allowing it to use and to consume you as your personel inner darkness anger at and rage and wrath eats you up alive and destroys you little by little spreading death and suffering to both yoursef and to others in life
its a matter each of us must learn to live with for ourself in our own way and a chocie we must each choose to make for ourself one way or the other
cause once you open that doorway and stepp through theres no going back once you start down the path of darkness asa killer
gain control of the darkness within and find the light in your life and live your life foryourself and others as well asa guardian of life
live your life in the light while finding a way to live with the darkness in reasonable balance over time
in the case of bruce wayne batman is the real person and main personality of the two and represents the inner darkness with in bruces soul and psyche while the bruce wayne minor personality when it is in play during the daytime represents bruce waynes humanity asa person
the two exist as 2 halves of the greater whole which is bruce wayns psyche and soul neither can exist without the other though as eahc needs the other to maintain balance in their shared existance throughout bruce waynes life
Re: the masks we wear as victims
oh yeah says who? and what the fuck gives them the right to speak for us or to decide how we should think and feel over this matter?
and the next person in my parents families who tries to use circuler logic on me in a argument over religion and poiolitics to make me beleive i am somehow betraying and disrespcting my parents/families religion over the matter when it comes to my being painfully blunt and honest over this matter of male genital mutilation with my thoughts and feelingsi will say only this
HOW THE FUCKING HELL CAN I BETRAY OR DISRESPECT SOMETHING I NEVER BELIEVED IN OR RESPECTED IN THEFIRST PLACE
you would be surprised howmany times thaose words have helped me to avoid a violent argument with certain relatives in my so called family over the matter.
to be hoenst this is the single biggest reason i got for refusing religion in my day to day life all together
the other person wants to lvie their own life by this or that religion they are more then welcome to just keep it the fucking hell away from me. that stuffs poision to me all it has ever brought is grief pain and suffering into my life over the years
im not being angry when i ask those questions on the matter im just curiouse over the whole matter cause im trying to understand this part of it for myself is all sorry if my words have a sharp edge to them in how i repsond on this part of the matter i mean no disrespect man
just what the fuck gives them the right to use us in the first place though?
they have not earned it of our person in how they go about treating our person day to day
where do they get off beleiving they have a right to demand such a thing of our person anyway ?
people liek that dont even deserve a reply much less the slightest measure of pity or respect where there so called authority is concerned id jsut as soon
just betwen you and me id jsut as soon spit in their face and give them a right hard nut crunching twist to the nutsack then look at the sorry fucks much less give them the time of day when the other person chooses to be a abusive user controlffreak in that way
im not saying any of this to be hurtful man im just being honest with my feelings over the matter is all
when it comes to the worst of them as people go its peopel like that make me wish i could just simply hate them to death and i mean literally hate them to death without so much as even lifting a finger or saying a simgle word to them .
to be hoenst i just keep a lsit of all the persons liek that who have wronged my person day by day and as each one dies i go to their funeral after the crowds left and do a dance o ntheir grave
harmless? yeah. in bad taste? perhaps. satisfying as all get out? oh yeah
thats petty vengeance for you as they say living life well in good health can be the best reward in itself over time
ive been doing that most of my day to day life since the age of 13
as i understand it batman exists asa being born of the darkness of young bruce waynes his soul. a darkenss that was put there the night bruce asa child was made to witness parents murder in crime alley by joe chill. bruce used that darkness and the sense of loss he was made to live with over the deaths of his parents and coupled it with the alternate personality he had eveloped asa trauma victim going through dissasociative identity disorder to become the batman which is very literally the outward physical manisfestation and imbodiment of his alternate personality and inner darkness
bruce hase so fully switched from his original bruce wayne dominant personality to the batman alternate personality over time to the point that batman literally is the true person of the two. with the bruce wayne original personality having been made the minor ppersonality over time which he uses to help him sociallise and blend in with society and people while the bruce wayne personality also helps him to emotionally bond with those few friends he has allowed into his personel life in getting to know that other person asa turstworhty friend and surrogate family member over time asa fellow trauma victim
i see that asa positive example of what each of us must do over time to heal as victims
we must confront our anger and our inner darkenss head on wrestle with it learn to control and to tame it to keep it reighend in on a tight leash to make it a weapon and exstension of our own personel will and being and use it to become a stronger person over time.
BUT WITHOUT GIVING IN TO THE DARKSIDE for there is always the risk it would consume that persons mind and soul with time if he allows it to go unchecked and let it run amok u out of control
its a lot like the responsibility that comes with owning a gun
you either learn how to use it and become its master over time using it to protect yourself and your family and loved ones or it controls you as everyone you know and love and care about in your life are forced farther and farther away as yuour personel life goes to hell and they are made the victims of the violent life and consequences that come with lviing a life of crime asa mob boss
i think batman said it best though.
yoiu either learn to live your life as the hero and die the hero in the end or you lvie long enough to find yourself become the very villian himself