Monday, November 20, 2017

Men Want to Protect Their Masculinity So Bad

This "man box" really has straight men feeling insecure. It drives them crazy when their masculinity or sexuality can potentially be challenged.

The other day, I dropped my car off at the mechanic and I took the Orlando Lynx Bus to run some errands. It was a tad cold, and I decided to wear some fashionable, flexible fall clothes, meaning that it could keep me warm and I could change it to adapt with the heat by rolling up the sleeves or something.

Anyway, I'm on the bus, headed to my first stop and this guy, dressed in construction attire, gets on the bus. He sits a seat over next to me. A few minutes pass and he notices my shirt and says, "That's a nice shirt man." "Thanks," I reply. "What is this material? It looks comfortable." I answer, "I actually don't know, but it is mad comfortable." We laugh. "Can I touch it," he asks? I'm very open and I honestly have no boundaries or bubbles, even with strangers so I say, "Yes." He feel it and says, "Damn, that's nice. Man, you are rocking that shirt. You look good, man." I began to say, "Thank you-" "No homo," he interrupts. "What," I ask? "NO HOMO! I ain't gay or nothing, I just really like your shirt. Like, no homo bro." I reassure him that I didn't think that and we go on about our business.

Masculinity as a Source of Toxicity in Online Gaming

It's no big secret that online gaming is a toxic environment. However in my experience not many people make the connection between this toxicity and the concepts of masculinity. Gaming is viewed as a boys' club and the vocal boys in the community latch onto this and do their best to reinforce it at every opportunity. Anonymity coupled with a sense of entitlement leads to excessive use of slurs and sexist behavior, often inciting violence against others. These behaviors very rarely have any consequences and are often applauded by peers.

The linked article discusses this issue to some extent and I'd like to pose the same question they did: How will we solve this? I personally think the first step is for the developers of these games to be more vigilant in removing these toxic players from their communities and more vocal about their stance on this issue.

This Is a Man Problem

“…we will count on the courts to correct something that our culture should correct.”

The Hollywood scandals have been getting all of the attention lately, but this article that’s been floating around social media lately takes a slightly different approach—it asks what we do about the men who aren’t in Hollywood or politics.

Aside from the obvious calls to action, like speaking up and pressing charges in cases of sexual assault, this authors adamantly repeats a needed re-imagination of masculinity and the accompanying rules of attraction. I think this is what woman have been preaching for a long time, but I think like all other social issues, it’s starting to be taken more seriously as men themselves are preaching it too.

We need to reimagine our vocabulary and our understanding of common concepts—sex, rape, ‘no’, dating, office culture and more. All of these concepts have been cushioned with boundaries that make men comfortable and/or in control. These concepts have positioned men as victims of their “aggressive” and “sex and survival first” biology. Addressing the misconstructions in these conceptions can help fix our culture’s perspective, ultimately fixing this problem at its foundation.

Double Standards

There are double standards in everyday life for men and women. Theses double standards have become somewhat of a norm, but are very accurate as to how society views certain things. There are many examples of double standards that are prevalent in today's society, but the one I want to focus on is the acceptance of objectifying the body.

Society already degrades women down to the point that they need to have model bodies to be beautiful and they can't show too much cleavage because they're being suggestive or asking for attention and they can't do wear certain clothes because they might make themselves bait for rape. In addition to that, society is also strict as to what happens to the female body and how we treat their body: no touching, no violating in any aspect, no looking too long, etc.

On the contrary, the male body is almost always subjected to objectification. Women are allowed to touch and grope men in strip clubs, they lift our shirts, we need chiseled bodies and abs to be beautiful too, women can stare and show unwarranted attention, etc. Then men are called gay when they aren't fond of the attention because "what man doesn't want attention from women?" The same men who don't want it just like the same women who don't want attention.

The Evolution of Masculinity

      Compared to the “baby boomers” the men in this day and age don’t feel as their “completely masculine”. I feel like this is that way because their parents or grandparents are most likely part of the “baby boomers” so they’re probably used to seeing something different. The men now drink green juices instead of beer and meditating and exercising instead of watching the news in the morning. In this article it is being said that the masculinity that has been modeled such as, that men shouldn’t express emotion, be sensitive, or show vulnerability is now starting to fade.

There are 7 reasons why they are reinventing masculinity:
  1. They want to get to know themselves more on a deep and personal level. They believe in taking care of themselves. This is different compared to the traditional men, who would most likely keep themselves busy and not worry about their health.
  2. They don’t have a need to conform to their gender. That’s why stay at home dads are becoming more acceptable and they aren’t threatened by women’s success.
  3. The millennial men are more secure with themselves and their worth so they don’t feel as they have to compete with one another.
  4. They feel they don’t have no need to pretend and they are not ashamed of who they are.
  5. They view their vulnerability and emotions as a sign of courage. The view of emotionless men is slowly but surely disappearing.
  6. Millennial men value themselves and their values. He is committed to himself and improving himself.
  7. They want to keep growing and being successful. It may be with work, relationships, or within themselves. I know plenty of men that decided to not enter a relationship because they wanted to work on themselves so they can be good enough for the woman that may enter their life. 

'He Would Rather Have a Dead Son Than a Gay Son'

Jaime Grant, executive director of PFLAG National, an LGBTQ family and ally organization:
"Many 'normative' messages men learn as they are growing up about stuffing their feelings, policing other men's gender and sexuality, asserting 'dominance' from the boardroom to the bedroom, also show up in their lives as fathers."

I came across this article on Twitter—and not shockingly, I wasn’t surprised. The fear embedded in men of being gay or being associated with a gay man is so paralyzing that it manifests itself in acts of violence. This particular one is a mix of gun violence and parental abuse.

This article also took me back to a module we had at the beginning of the semester—where I wrote in a discussion thread that it’s funny that masculinity is seen as a structurally and concretely defined concept, but is just essentially whatever femininity is not at the time—and I suppose it’s feminine to be romantically attracted to men. Why are men so afraid to indulge in anything that even slightly strays away from the hegemonic characteristics of dominance and aggression, and seems closer to femininity?

Toxic Masculinity and Mental Health pt.2

I’ve posted previously about the link between toxic masculinity and mental health issues in men. The study I referenced was published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology examining conformity to masculine norms and mental health outcomes in 78 research samples involving nearly 20,000 men. I recently came across an article referencing the same study, but it also included testimonials from a few men describing their experience at the intersection of masculinity and mental illness. I found that these personal testimonials were able to really give perspective and a deeper understanding of the concept than the cold data was able to do on it’s own. I highly recommend taking a look at this article, but more than that, we need to start having these discussions with the men in our lives as well. As one of the men, Daniel Briggs, says in his interview, “Men need to accept that talking is good and that the hardest part is showing emotion. Walking around with a smile on your face, telling jokes – that’s the easy part. But talking about life and your feelings, rather than how your football team did or how many pints you drank on Saturday night, is much harder.”

bell hooks on the Root of Male Violence

I recently came across a radio segment published by The New Yorker Radio Hour which interviews the acclaimed feminist thinker bell hooks. The topic discussed between host, David Remnick, and bell hooks is the root of male violence. bell hooks references her 2004 book “The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love”. David Remnick states that the book was “somewhat controversial at the time, among other feminists in particular, because rather than excoriating the worst behavior of men individually, she looks at masculinity as a whole, as a kind of regime that oppresses everybody including men”. They discuss how the recent events involving sexual assault and harassment are not just outliers or isolated problems, but really manifestations of the larger systemic problem of toxic masculinity and damaging patriarchal practices.

Listen to the full interview here:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What Are Traditional Ideas About Masculinity?

I wanted to share the link below because I believe that this is a reality that probably a high percentage of men experience in their lives.  Here is the link were you can determine is this is the truth or is simple someone that is trying to underestimate masculinity or a real man.  Please read the article here:

Men's Depression is a Reality.

According to the American Psychological Association more than 20% of men are depress or have experienced any type of depression during their life span.  Around 70% of these men met traditional criteria for depression disorder.  There is definitely regarding men depression that is different from women's depression. Women tend to be more in numbers in terms of depression, but men are more likely to commit suicide.   The consequences for this is because usually men can hide their real feelings.  On the other hand, women do not hide their feelings and are more likely to show what they really feel and express a lot more drama than men.

Research has confirmed that men who endorse greater adherence to "traditionally masculine norms" may definitely pretend they are feeling something else or "mask" their depression. As a matter of fact, the normal or traditional diagnostic can really miss or fail to detect real feelings of depression in a man.

There is more information available about this matter on the article that I chose to ready about men depression.  Here is the link for more details:

Thank you for Reading.

God Bless You All and Good Luck With the Semester.

Warm Regards,

The Culture of Toxic Masculinity and Our Sons

I came across a recent article that relates both to this course and current events. The article, written by Jim Wallis, discusses how we as a society must create a better stance against the culture of toxic masculinity. What seemed to inspired Wallis to write this article and share his thoughts was the many stories that have come out about Harvey Weinstein's assaults against so many women. Toxic masculinity and the sense of male entitlement can be found anywhere, from the media to Hollywood, even Washington. Wallis makes a powerful and very true statement: "The toxic masculinity that infuses our culture encourages and excuses the abuse of power. We parents and caregivers who want to raise boys into good men must be committed to challenging toxic masculinity with one centered on a commitment to nurture and defend people of all gender identities." It is extremely important that we as a society make a cultural commitment to change these realities for both women and men. Too often do I see that boys from a young age are exposed to sexist speech as an acceptable and expected behavior. It is these simple phrases or actions that can make boys believe that sexual harassment is acceptable. It is important that boys are taught that both sexual harassment and sexist acts or speech are not acceptable at all. This article by Jim Wallis was a really interesting read for me and he highlights some of the ways our society encourages toxic masculinity and explains why we must confront it.

Boys Are Internalizing Toxic Masculinity Habits Way Too Early

Boys Are Internalizing Toxic Masculinity Habits Way Too Early

This article is a written interview with musician John Legend. Legend goes on to explain how he feels that boys at a young age are taught to be hyper-masculine, especially young black men. Legend explains that when his parents divorced he lived with his father and his father did not show him the hyper masculinity that he saw his friends develop around him. He mentions that a lot of his friends ended up selling drugs, in jail and losing their lives.

It seems interesting that people are now paying attention to the fact that hyper masculinity is toxic for men. How it can impact men negativity because it makes men feel that they have something to prove and will do it at all cause. Legend mentions how he is happy that his parents didn’t teach him to be hyper masculine because he ended up being a successful musician and living a much better life.