Friday, February 6, 2015

Macho-Man Masculinity

We’ve all heard of the unrealistic standards given to women in society, right? Not to say that those standards are not an issue or are not significant in any way, because they are, but have you ever stopped and thought about how there are many stereotypes and standards that are applied to men, as well? It’s a very overlooked issue that has not been considered much until somewhat recently. Gender inequality, while is an issue for women as well, is a massive issue that branches off into many other issues within our society.

(Taken from here, I do NOT own this photo)
First off, did you know that men statistically take more dangerous jobs due to the fact that they are expected to choose more dangerous lines of work, such as military, firefighting, construction, logging, law enforcement, and many other jobs, and die more often because of it? According to a 2010-2011 study, of the 2,266,883 military members, over 80% of them are men (see source here). Men are told that in order to be this perfect, healthy, strong, courageous man, you have to be so many ideologies at once, that it’s almost impossible to achieve. You have to be independent. You have to feel, or at the very least show, little to no emotion. You have to be physically strong, and a lot of times physically attractive, too.

These things are merely scratching the surface of the realm of expectations that are put on young men starting at a fairly young age. Throughout their childhood, young men will adapt and accept the idea of stoic, heroic, strong, brave macho-man warrior that will swoop in and save the day and be loved by everybody, and this reflects later on in their lives. Most young men are confused and unsure of who they should be, when they look at themselves and then what a “perfect” man is, and they see just how big of a difference there really is between the two.

Throughout school lives, even as early as middle school, a large number of boys will compare themselves to that stereotype and wonder what went wrong, when really, nothing was wrong to begin with. Boys are shown less compassion than girls at early ages, because you have to “be a man”. Another part of this problem is the fact that there are countless double standards that apply to men. Men will usually receive much harsher sentences than women, the guys will usually be the ones to hold doors open for women, women can hit men, but men can’t hit men, etc, etc (not that chivalry as a whole, or being respectful is a bad thing).

One very prominent issue is the fact that men are often the instigators of violence, specifically violence in which a woman is the victim. The most probable cause for this is due to the fact that young men, especially in this day and age, are born and raised with the false pretext that men are the Macho Man Randy Savage of the household and have to be dominant over others in a way that can end up being harmful to others.

Starting from a very young age, as was said before, young men will often be taught to be the powerful figure that will be the enforcer of rules and be aggressive and assertive while doing so. This can clearly be connected to acts of violence that are often instigated by men, and also often on women.

Again, as i stated before, and would like to state again, i do not believe that women in our day and age, specifically in this society, do not face sexism as a whole, discrimination, or any other harsh treatment; because they do. I’m simply stating that young men are often put through similar stereotypes and told to act a certain way and be a certain person growing up with that kind of mindset, and growing up with people telling you what you should be as a man can be very confusing and can cause a lot of problems later down the road in life and often can lead to direct and indirect consequences including a warped view on people and the world as you grow older. Some people have experienced these kinds of expectations that people will try to have you grow used to, including the many things a “man” is supposed to be. Thanks for taking the time to read and hopefully consider these arguments.

See my bibliography here

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(Updated 3/5/2015)

Post reflection, I feel like I still am in agreement with myself as far as the blog’s topic is concerned, and I still believe that the portrayal of men in the media and in any other fashion is just as important of a problem as it is for women. Both are very troubling topics and I feel like both need extra attention in our society. The reason I felt as if this kind of topic was worth writing an essay on in a digital citizenship class is mainly due to the fact that this topic is of importance to me and the fact that the media has a very, very prominent, influential role in this. The blogging process as a whole was very interesting and it’s not often that I feel like you are able to write an essay or blog post on a topic of your choosing like I was in this class. I feel like I got a chance to open my ideas to the rest of the world and I think that’s really neat. Thank you to all who participated in the discussion and everyone who took the time to read it.

9 comments:

  1. Hello kingofruhr, I find this to be a particularly interesting article about the roles of men in society today. Do you feel as if men doing what others would call a "woman's" job are harassed? What do you think are the main reasons behind media and advertising creating these stereotypes? Great blog!

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for the comment, first off. Secondly, i do feel like men doing a women's job would be "harassed", and some would even find it comical. I do feel like this exists for women too, and for many of the same reasons, because of what we (we as in both genders) are told to do and what we're shown our genders do and so we try to act accordingly. Thanks again!

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  2. Hello, this is a interesting topic to write about. The only thing I have against this is, what is wrong with anybody trying to be healthy, strong, courageous, independent, not hysterical, physically strong, physically attractive and as you said, "stoic, heroic, strong, brave macho-man warrior that will swoop in and save the day and be loved by everybody"? The only thing I don't like is that we get harsher punishments than girls, because they are thought of as innocent.

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for the comment. I'm not going to pull the "unrealistic standards card" here, but sometimes you're NOT going to be that guy. Some people aren't the type of person to be like that. They aren't unrealistic standards; some people (no offense intended to anyone because I feel as if I fall into this category) are just not that way. If you're a "stoic, heroic, strong, brave macho-man warrior that will swoop in and save the day and be loved by everybody", by all means wear that. My point is that some people aren't able to be like that or simply don't want to be and there should be absolutely no negative consequences to someone who wants to live that way. Thanks again for the comment!

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  3. Kingofruhr, Thank you for giving further analysis of this topic! This ties in very closely with this article as to how it is "countless decisions by writers, advertisers, producers, programmers and others about what men look like" that shape the way we see men today. Thank you again for your explanation of this problematic subject!

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for the comment, and article. Glad that you enjoyed my post!

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  4. Kingofuhr, it is obvious this topic means a great deal to you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know you did a great deal of research, but I don't see it here. Some facts and statistics would go a long way in backing up your opinion. Who, specifically, teaches boys what it means to "be a man"? Are you talking about the influence of the media? There are many who agree with you and wish to expand the definition of masculinity toward something more positive and less aggressive, more emotional, and less stoic. Do you see evidence of this anywhere?

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for the input. I feel like there's not much physical statistical evidence that can support this topic simply due to the fact that it's such a lesser known/seen/heard of side and there's not much statistical, i feel, about this. I also feel as if it's a topic that one talks about from personal experience and from personal experience of others, and not necessarily on statistics. Moving on to your question, i do think that it's really the people around us, television, marketing, media, etc. that cause this problem. I often see what you were talking about at the end of your topic in many people, friends, online-friends, etc. etc., and in my opinion, like i said before, a topic like this relies mainly on personal experience and how a certain person really feels about it, and not so much on statistics, although i agree that they can help. Thanks again for the input!

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    2. There's actually a LOT of statistical evidence that support this topic. Much has been written lately of the "boy crisis" in America. According to this article, from the producers of The Mask You Live In documentary, "It’s a hard time to be a boy, and the facts are something that should give us all pause. Today, boys are more likely to be expelled or kicked out of school than girls. Young men are only 43 percent of enrollees in post-secondary institutions. Boys are more likely to engage in violent crime, binge drinking, and drugs. Male campus sexual assault is commonplace, and mass shootings involving boys and men have become an epidemic. Jails are packed to the rafters with men. And men commit 79 percent of all suicides in the United States. The status quo is unacceptable." Statistics like these can go a long way to opening up the conversation, and hopefully changing some of our negative attitudes and behavior, so we can stop the cycle of these damaging stereotypes.

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