Hello beautiful bloggers!
On this dreary and rainy Tuesday I would like to address the importance of re-defining masculinity. As we know, gender roles are culturally biased ideas that dictate a person’s behavioral role depending on their biological sex. Though I usually use these posts to fight against the pressures of being female, I’d like to use this blog post to draw attention to the pressures of being male. Both men and women are victims of the constrictive and harmful nature of gender roles. I think it’s important to draw attention to how masculinity can harm individual growth for men, in addition to women. When I think of masculinity, my mind drifts toward Tony Soprano’s desire to embody Gary Cooper as the ” strong, silent type”. If you’re a Soprano’s fan, you obviously know that this type never worked well for Tony as his efforts resulted in depression, panic attacks and fainting spells. Tony’s struggles mirror the reality of masculinity as men are discouraged to show their emotions.
As feminists, we need a Call to Action to change the definition of masculinity for younger generations to come. Masculinity chastises young boys to ” be a man”, or to ” stop being such a sissy” anytime they cry or express sensitivity or sadness. This toxic lesson of bottling up emotions has a serious negative impact on the mental health of men.
Additionally, male gender roles teach men that physical aggression is attractive and a socially acceptable way to deal with conflict. Masculinity pressures men to prove their strength and prowess, by physically overpowering those in their way. We are demonstrating to young men that violent behavior is not only tolerable, but expected. Men are not born violent, they are taught to be violent. Media enhances this lesson through movies, video games, and TV shows that display violence as the “manly” way to handle conflict. It’s really surprising to re-watch old tv shows that I used to love, and concentrate on the behaviors of my old favorite male characters. Most of these ” nice guys” engaged in physically violent behavior to defend the honor of some girl. This is not an action to be encouraged as heroic. As a young girl, however, I would see this behavior and consider it to be incredibly sexy and gallant.
Masculinity also encourages young men to objectify, dehumanize, and stereotype women. Young boys do not grow up with biological genes which instinctually teach them to disrespect their sisters, mothers, classmates, or girlfriends. We are bombarded by images everyday demonstrate male dominance. It’s no wonder that growing up, I saw physical violence as an attractive trait instead of a red flag.
Therefore a new definition of masculinity is required to instill within both sexes the importance of empathy, respect, and compassion towards people of all sexual orientations. Violence will not be deemed as acceptable behavior. The new definition would eradicate the phrase ” boys will be boys” to hold men accountable for their actions. Media would implement male characters who are complex and versatile in their sexuality and personality.
What do you guys think? How can we go about re-defining masculinity? Am I missing out any important components to the idea of “manliness” that need to be redefined? Let me know!