The society that we live in has constructed many ideas for men and women. However, these social expectations do not apply to every individual. Indeed, some people may have a certain amount of fear about things like their actions and their sexuality if they do not meet society’s expectations. Some individuals may even choose to fake it as they feel forced by their surroundings to act a certain way. For instance, some men might feel obliged to act “manly”, which could lead them to not be themselves and to them losing their fundamental right of expressing themselves
In the text “Masculinity as Homophobia” by Michael Kimmel, he suggests that men are scared of acting not manly enough and therefore they will be considered as being homosexual. Indeed, he states: “The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood.” (Kimmel 147). This shows that he thinks that men are afraid of showing their true colors as they have been taught by society the “correct” way for them to act and if they do not follow the “correct” way, they will not be accepted by their surroundings. However, these social expectations do not work for every single man. In fact, they are taught to be strong and to endure everything without needing any help, which could put a lot of pressure on men and how they need to be. However, men could be liberated if we as a society redefined the idea of being a man and the expectations we have set for them, such as their roles, their sexuality, their likes and much more.
In the text “Understanding Patriarchy” by Bell Hooks, the author defined patriarchy as the following: “a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females” (Hooks, 1). This system puts a lot of pressure on men as well as is unequal between sexes. The author opens up about her experience in her household, where her parents believed in a patriarchal system and did not support her through her life. She felt excluded. For instance, she couldn’t play with marbles because her brother would not give her any as he said it was for boys (Hooks, 1). Hooks also points out that patriarchy can lead to violence between the patriarchal parents and the children as many problems can arise in this system (Hooks, 2). However, this does not only negatively affect women as it also negatively affects men as they are lead to maintain this lifestyle, which can prevent them from their emotional well-being (Hooks, 3).
After reading both these texts, I further understand how by redefining masculinity, men could be liberated as it could take away a lot of the pressure that is put on them. Unfortunately, this issue happens still to this day with many families who still have a patriarchal system. Thus, we have to as a society realize that gender and political systems like patriarchy are socially constructed and that we can deconstruct them if we stopped enforcing them and if we redefined masculinity.