Masculinity is a concept that has been around for quite some time and is a term used in order to define what a man should be. As we all know by now, society has portrayed men as strong, in control and more “superior” to women. For many decades these ideals have actually affected men in certain ways, as Kimmel explains in his text of “Masculinity as Homophobia”.
Patriarchy in fact holds these concepts that men are more superior to women. Kimmel explains how homophobia is a term used to define the concepts of manhood and masculinity. The sad truth is that men do not want to be called “gay”, “faggot” or “sissy”. “The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood. It starts so early” says Kimmel. Boys at a young age will already grasp upon the concept of masculinity. Don’t run like a girl they say. Oh c’mon throw like a real man! Don’t be a sissy just jump! Young boys have already understood that being lowered to a girls level is an insult, boys should always be superior. These ideals have been around for decades and they have been embedded in our culture, the way we think and how we act. In consequence, these acts can lead to men bottling up their emotion and not being able to express themselves as well. “…we have constructed on the perimeter, making sure that nothing even remotely feminine might show through” (Kimmel, p.148)
Moreover, Hooks and Kimmel are quite similar when it comes to explaining masculinity. Hooks exlpains that masculinity restricts men from expressing their true emotions and that there are in fact different types of masculinity. Hooks gives the example of Terrence’s son and how he enjoyed playing with Barbie’s. When his friends found out about this, they started to neglect him because he wasn’t “manly” enough. His son quickly dropped the “feminine” persona and followed a more “masculine” behaviour in order to be accepted by his friends. The situation links patriarchy and sexism and how masculinity can be derived from psychological trauma pressured by men and transmitted to another. This can put men under a lot of pressure and psychological distress. “Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation” says Hooks. However, the author doesn’t put the blame on men in fact she says women and men are both equally at fault when it comes to society’s perspective on masculinity. To break societal norms both genders have to be responsible.
The term of masculinity shouldn’t even be used since it is something men slowly become entitled to. The word itself holds a gender bias when in reality it does not mean anything. One night, I was talking to my male friend and we were discussing about this subject. We both came to the conclusion that our sexe shouldn’t carry specific characteristics and the only thing that should differentiate women and men are our reproductive systems. With that said no matter the gender, all we need is to educate the population in order to overcome and redefine the definition of masculinity. Both genders should be equivalent and certain words like success and power should not be linked to one gender only. Both men and women are strong, powerful and successful, if they choose to be. With this mindset, we as a society can redefine the definition of masculinity. As a result, gender roles wouldn’t exist and societal standards will be abolished. Only then, we will truly be free.