Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Boys are socialized to have a very narrow and rigid definition of masculinity.

Mask You (Linity) 

After  examining the social construction of what it means to be feminine, we are now taking a look at the social construction of masculinity.

Question 1 : What are three words that describe what it means to be a man?

Question 2:  What are three words that describe someone who is not a real man?

Now examine some of these statistics:

Boys are 30% more likely to flunk.
Boys are 2.5 times more likely to be suspended.
Boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities

Question 3:  Why do you think this is true?

Sociologists find that the construction of masculinity puts boys at risk in school:
There is a disconnect between school and masculinity; masculinity is constructed as “active” while school is constructed to be passive; sit-down, pay attention, take notes are docile, passive and feminine.

Other disturbing statistics:
40% of teenage girls 14-17yrs say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
1 of 5 college females will experience some form of dating violence from their male partner.
1 in 3 High School students have been or will be in an abusive relationship.
 Zacariah Foundation http://www.zcenter.org/index.htm

Why do you think this is true?

After carefully examining violence in America, I hope you see the larger dynamic of what is going on here.  Masculinity is a mask that many men wear in America. It is a way of masking or hiding who they really are in order to validating their self worth according to how the culture tells them they are supposed to be. Men in America are shaped by a culture that reinforces the idea that toughness, violence and aggression are normal ways of being male. They are also taught to not be vulnerable  or emotional or nurturing.  This creates a culture where overwhelmingly males are violent compared to females. Have you experienced this mask of masculinity? How? What are some other ways our culture should be constructing masculinity to provide validation for guys who are not violent? Are there examples out there that you know about? All of the agents of socialization play a role in this process.  Here is one example of the way the media creates this mask:


  1. Alrighty, since we've covered all the problems with this Americasulinity, I shall have to show that it's not true for all. There's a few rolemodels in film and literature that I think would encourage a less violent, more idealistic male culture. These being primarily Rhett Butler and Jay Gatsby, but even Harry Potter or Severus Snape. Dare I mention Jesus or has he been all but forgotten in the discussion... Even Batman or Superman, despite their violence, fight for the "right" and have something of a developed intellect. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Winston Churchill were all real men with real causes who were aggresive in the sense they got things done, but didn't raise fists or point guns. Artsy folk like Van Gogh, Poe, and Andy Warhol weren't particularly violent either and are still well known. If arts and all are too "pansy" for you even and you need a "real man", try Indiana Jones or Mr. Mazzuca. Neither leaps at the chance to cause others anguish, both have that ruggedness that seems to be the cultural norm, and both have a good head on their shoulders. Comparatively, the likes of mob bosses and Rambo all fall rather flat and dull, their only punchline being a gunshot where as Indy and Mazz both have enough witicisms that things stay interesting. So why don't lost guys follow people like them? I couldn't say. Why don't lost guys find themselves a second identifier? I also have no idea. But I do know that if the culture is willing to change, there are hundreds of figures boys could try to emulate that would reduce violence(towards each other and women), cut that facade of senseless stoicism, and ultimately tear the mask of Americasulinity asunder.

  2. I believe that the problem with masculinity is not present in every case, but it is definitely dominant in the mass media. Harry Potter constantly fights in order to gain control of situations, and Daniel Radcliffe is only getting beefier to play the part. Batman and Superman fight for the good of the city I suppose, but they also fight to get the girl. Van Gogh was in a mental institution when his most famous works were created. Indiana Jones uses a whip and is constantly tend s to end up with a hot chick once he finds the treasure. However, I am just being difficult. I see your point and agree with many of the people you mentioned. However, the men such as MLK Jr. and Ghandi that you mentioned are not shown as much in the media as this constant figure of Gaston, or Hercules, or whatever other cartoon hero you can think of. I do believe that Beauty and the Beast was an unfair example, since Gaston was evil and portrayed as everything you're not supposed to be. Also, movies like The Pagemaster (Best Movie EVER) show a nerd rising up to face his fears.

  3. Hey Sal! Do you think you can send me the link to the movie that we watched about masculinity? Or was it a clip? It was portraying how boys should be masculine. Thanks.