No matter the civilization, men have always had to consistently keep an image of what a man should be. In most households, men are considered to be the jewel of the family this most mostly due to how society has dictated men’s role to be powerful and control. Therefore if some men didn’t portrait those characteristics they would be ridiculed and feel left behind. Due to those circumstances, many men had to force themselves into being strong rather than being something they wanted. Further doing the line leads them to be extremely unhappy with who they become.
In both Bell Hooks and Michael Kimmel’s texts, the power of patriarchy is displayed by demonstrating how scared men are to show any weakness when it comes to following a path who differs from being a man. Both texts show how being a “sissy” is being looked down upon by society and shamed for not being strong enough “be a man mentally” rather than express your emotions.
In Bell Hooks Understanding Patriarchy, the author talks about how “Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything…” She further this thought by explaining how boys are programmed from a young age to be more dominant and assertive rather than submissive. As an example, she shows the relationship with her older brother and how from the start, he was the one who “was allowed to play with marbles because he was a man” while she had to be a provider and supporter due to her being a woman. In this example Hooks showcases how both herself and brother are a victim of the patriarchal system, both gender suffered from not being able to show who they are due to predisposed gender roles. In Hooks’s case, the was put in her place by her father who told her “You’re just a little girl. When I tell you to do something, I mean for you to do it.” This sort of environment traumatized her and made her realize how the system was always against her. Which is the case for many people who challenge the male figure of a household.
In Michael Kimmel Masculinity as Homophobia, the author speaks on how men are afraid of not belonging in the patriarchal world. Kimmel focuses on men’s fear of being ridiculed for how they express themselves. He describes is as “The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood.” This behavior can be seen from an early age when boys go to school and some are made fun of by the way they dress, act in front of other, emotional expressions and looking at your hands the wrong way. In consequence, this sort of attitude makes men bottle up their emotions and reduce the need to express themselves freely. In consequence, these social constructs don’t give power to men, they reduce men to feel powerless. Men cannot explore who they are, making it that most of them fall into the drowned pattern of a patriarchal society where they must have a job and provide without knowing what they are doing similar to mindless computer who are programmed to follow instructions without question.
To recap both points, Kimmel and Hook showcase how men are indoctrinated into the patriarchal society by being force to suppress their emotions and thought which oppose the latter. In result, most men life a uniformed of subject like sexism and feminism due to lack of familiarity in subject which attack patriarchy itself. But in recent times we have seen a change in mindset when it comes to male freedom of emotions, these days there is an increase in emotional awareness among the younger generation of boys. Most of them where raised in a way in which allows them to express themselves. The only way that men can redefine the meaning of masculinity is to break down old barrier such as not caring about issues like sexism and feminism, reducing the idea of expressing yourself is weak you should be a man a bottle your emotions up. If men allow other men to express emotions rather than belittle them then men would be able to redefine was masculinity should be.