Ever since I am a little girl, I have been socialized to expect men to act a certain way. Men are the fairy tale’s prince charmings, who came to the rescue the vulnerable princess. They were brave, they fought dragons and rode a mighty horse, while the helpless princess waited for him to save her. They were the great adventurers who were afraid of nothing. In the school yard, they were those who were expected to be the fastest runners, or the best kickers. They are the ones who are expected to be brave enough to tell women how they feel about them and they should be able to provide for the woman they love. So many expectations; it must be scary to be expected to become the head of the family, to be expected to act like a man. What I find crazy is that, it seems like men put the burden of being a man, act like a man and think like a man on themselves! Through history, it seems to me like they were the ones to put unwritten rules on their behaviours. Hooks and Kimmel explain to use just how much these expectations society has toward them can affect their personal life and their way of expressing themselves.
In his article Masculinity as Homophobia, Kimmel said “The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood” (1994, 147). Which is totally true! I had never realised how much men are limited in the way they can express themselves until I read Kimmel and Hooks’ works! It happens in front of me everyday; Almost every time a guy says something slightly effeminate or even emotional, people are quick to say ” Man, you are acting gay, what’s up with you!?” And often the guy reacts and laughs about what he just did or said and adds ” It was a joke”. And that is such a painful thing to watch because, nothing is wrong with a man being effeminate, or talking about his feelings, or being scared or being sensitive! But men insist in acting as if it was wrong, which is difficult for me to understand because they are blocking themselves from expressing their true self! Also, according to Hooks, the big problem is patriarchy. The concepts that men are in control. Many men that agree with this ideology stress that “men cannot be men, only eunuchs, if they are not in control” (n.d., 4). This idea is not only harmful for women, who are seen as inferior by men, it also has a big impact on men who feel threatened by other men’s quest for power.
I sincerely think that, if men are no longer afraid of being themselves, no longer afraid of being seen as “sissy”, human relations would be greatly benefited. I think if men are free to say what they really think, without fear of judgement, it would be a big step forward towards gender equality because men wouldn’t express themselves with intimidating agressive manliness, but with respect and openness to other ideas. I also think that the gradual abandonment of the patriarcal ideology would bring a great boost to our society’s quest for gender equality. neither men nor women would be in power over one another, but working in partnership to achieve common goals, it would be amazing!
That being said, we do not live in an ideal world. In order to build a wonderful and equal world, I think an important thing to do is to talk about the issue of patriarchy, and educate people about the issues it brings to our society. It is also important to educate men and woman about the importance of acceptance. We must accept people for who they are and we must respect how a person expresses their personality, the same way we want to be respected. I think many men would be more than glad to learn that it is patriarchy that is behind all the expectations society has for them. Since we cannot control what a person think or says, I am convinced discussion is the way to change people’s perspective on the role of the mal in society. Educate to elevate.
Hooks, B. (n.d.) Understanding Patriarchy. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/noe-a/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/hooks_UnderstandingPatriarchy%20(1).pdf
Kimmel, M. (1994) Masculinity as Homophobia. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/noe-a/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/10_Kimmel_MasculinityasHomophobia%20(1).pdf