Fathers and Sons: Hug
Many males in the United States refuse to hug another man. This is true for those in peer relationships as well as in family relationships.
Yet a hug is an important, basic way of communicating a sonís love to his father and vice versa. So what would cause a man to avoid physical contact with another male family member?
Although it varies by cultural background, hugging is oftentimes viewed as being unmanly, i.e. showing weakness or being feminine. These two unwritten rules of masculine ideology are ones that many males dare not break. Men are socialized to believe that showing any emotion, other than anger, is a sign of profound weakness.
Hugging can also expose men to the subtle or not-so-subtle suggestion that they are gay. The underlying factor here is homophobia, the fear and/or hatred of homosexuals. This fear leads to many problems in our society and affects the behavior of many heterosexual men. So the man who opts for the handshake is taking the safer route by trying to appear strong and masculine.
Another factor underlying a manís hesitation to hug is ďfather hunger.Ē That means that as a result of masculine ideology, many men grow up not truly knowing their fathers, who may have been physically or emotionally absent. Thus, boys grow up seeking closeness with their fathers while being angry at them for being absent. Boys may also suffer from a lack of role models. A kid who rarely receives hugs, grows up not knowing how to give one.
Itís never too late to correct this behavior. So, for Thanksgiving or on any day, guys: hug another male that you love.