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.Zacariah Foundation http://www.zcenter.org/index.htm
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.
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: