Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 8: Men's Friendships and Relationships

Men of privilege (white/heterosexual/upper class/etc) will usually find male bonding techniques consistent with the “rituals" we read about. However as we have already learned in class, masculinity is as diverse as the person 'performing' it (that is, if it is a chosen performance). So to understand all masculine friendships/relationships we must ask; do Gay/Bi/Trans men bond with their friends in the same way that straight-identified men do, are working and lower class men participating in the same relationships as middle and upper class, do men of Color use the same bonding rituals as white men, and how do men who attend colleges/universities/higher educational institutes have differing experiences as men who do not attend these institutes?

Also, within all of these different experiences is there a common thread linking all men together? Such as alcohol/binge drinking, watching/playing sports, making sexist jokes, and a general understanding that all men look out for one another?


Merritt Johnson said...

In The Fraternal Bond on page 124 the “penis envy” joke has been tradition between the sororities and fraternities for year but this time it went too far. This ties in with the mens "rituals" as descriped in the prompt. The girls say; “In the women’s view it had failed because of its subject; they considered sexual jokes to be a normal part of the erotic joking relationship between men and women. They thought it had failed because of its emotional structure, the mixture of sexuality with aggression and the atmosphere of physical intimidation in the room that signified that the women were the object of a joking relationship between the men.” I know that’s a long passage but it gets the point across. I think the men in this fraternity were used to being able to joke about such things as they have before and they kept pushing their limits until it finally offended them. In my opinion you should never let this “joking” relationship start in the first place. Men and women should know their boundaries and respect each other with humor or not. It says, “a few women argued that the failed joke exposed the latent domination in means relation to women, but this view was labeled feminist because it endangered the possibility of reconstructing the erotic joking relationship with the men.” The men apologized but the women kept saying how it represented social constructions of gender. The next few pages went on about jokes and stories of girls being taunted during fraternity initiation. It’s sad to see how men’s “bonding” can come from harassing women and they think it’s funny and acceptable.

This also ties into, Why College Men Drink. It says that “In general, I conclude that when college men drink, they are simply being men in college: that is the best context for understanding why they drink.” Looking at it, it does seem true, many college students drink regularly. Your away from your parents, have freedom, can stay out all hours, yet it’s a social thing. It says how “men outnumber women in virtually every category of drinking behavior used in research for comparison- prevalence, consumption, frequency of drinking and intoxication, incidence of heavy and problem drinking, alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Although most college men and women say they drink to be sociable, men are more likely than women they drink for escapism or to get drunk.” In my opinion men’s “escapism” is being able to let go of all that are expected of them. Not only are women oppressed, men are also. They have to be big and buff, tough, strong, emotionless, have tons of friends, sleep with tons of girls, disrespect girls they like, just to be a “man”. I see this is fraternities, there is a lot expected of these men that I feel they drink to escape from inside feelings and this leads to all the drinking problems. Many men’s grades drop and end up in bad habits due to over use of alcohol. I respect Nathan in Men Speak Out for saying on page 43, “I made a decision when I was young that I would be focused, and not be dragged into the streets like so many before me.” I feel that since he witnessed more bad things, this made him not want to turn up like that. I only wish more men would vow something to themselves, to not follow others paths and drink and harass women. It’s good to see people like Nathan viewing what is right and wrong and taking the right path. Brandon on page 163, perfect example of a respectable young man. “The way I was raised, however, was that fighting for women’s rights was synonymous with fighting injustice in general.” So saying I’m a feminist is as easy as saying I’m hoping for the best for all people, and trying to not act accordingly.” This story was short, yet to the point. Reading his story made me smile, as everything he said was stronger than the one before on his beliefs on being a feminist. His examples and way he described everything really touched base in only 1 ½ short pages.

Sara N said...

Foucault said, in not so many words, that it is not men having sex with men that scares society, but men loving men. It seems that this was a theme in the readings this week from “Men Speak Out.” These men were some dissenting voices that sexism is natural, inevitable and desirable. “I noticed that she had quite deep friendships with her girlfriends and that they could talk about all sorts of emotional things. I was quite envious of that” (Mike’s story, Pringle, 242). So, where do men learn to call women “handbrake” or “rootbag” or bitch/slut/frigid/on the rag etc? From sports? To me, this seems analogous to pointing a finger at hip hop because “sports are not the problem; sexism is” (Pringle, 245). Among plenty of other places, sports can certainly be a site where men learn these behaviors, but does it have to be? “Had I understood the hypermasculine jock culture that existed in Division III sports before I joined the team, I would have promised myself that I would be more vocal, challenging the things that my teammates thought were fun. Instead I was silent” (Einschlag, 46). This might just be my outsider perspective, but it seems like men don’t speak out because they feel like they are the only one who feels this way. Maybe taking that first step and speaking out will set an example for other men that they are not alone. Nobody ever said being a pioneer was easy (“I wasn’t going to be some martyr and change all the boys” [Mike’s story, Pringle, 242]), but, people have said ‘nothing that is worth doing is easy.’

Kelly T said...

This week’s blog prompt is a bit crazy to me. On the one hand I feel like I could answer these questions and feel semi-decent about my answers. On the other I feel like, “who am I to say how men bond in our society within the different ‘subcultures’ that exist?”. I personally think that if there is any common thread between men it would be similar to that which exists between women. We all don’t understand certain things because we all wear makeup or have eating disorder so why would all men be linked together because of something as broad as sports or alcohol consumption? I think that what links the worlds together is the fact that they are similar in that they can understand the experiences one has faced in society. But even then, men wouldn’t necessarily be linked because what’s the common thread between a homeless man and the owner of a Fortune 500 company? Aside from the fact that they both have penises, which even then… might not be true!

There is something present though, that for some reason draws men to other men in friendships regardless of whether we can identify it or not. The fact that there is a connection is a big deal because its connection can be used to help fight patriarchy; it’s just a matter of men realizing that they’re not alone in their thoughts and speaking out to one another to get the ball rolling. For instance in Stepping Out of Bounds Nathan realized that what his teammates were doing and saying was wrong but he didn’t bother to say anything to them about it. Instead he even tried to “fit in” with the guys by partying like they do. Was it easier for him to just keep his mouth shut, suck it up and be “one of the guys” or would it have been easier for him to actually speak up and speak out about the issues at hand? When he partied like the guys there was still no difference in Nathan himself. Even though he changes his actions he couldn’t change his thought process to be like theirs. And if he spoke up he would be attacked for calling out his teammates and not being loyal or maybe even being a “wimp” because he expressed his feelings, which we all know is a big nono for men in our society.

So what’s the link between men in our society? It’s kind of like trying to find how many licks it takes to get to the center of the tootsie pop… the world may never know.

Zen Lien said...

I also thought The Fraternal Bond made a good point about the joking relationship between men and women. It shows that bonding between men doesn't just affect their relationships with each other but affects their relationships with women as well, sexual or otherwise. Not to mention, this is a predominantly heterosexual form of bonding among men which I can't help but feel has undeniable sexual undertones that in some cases (more like many) fosters male sexual dominance and rape culture.

I also noticed in the article the joking may be a common thread in how men bond but clearly it is done differently among different demographics. I think privilege plays a part in who can make the jokes and who must endure them. The black members of the fraternity pointed out that racist jokes were made in their house that hey normally would never tolerate, but because it was for the sake of being part of a brotherhood they accepted it as "just a joke". The problem in the joke culture lies in the way the men felt individually.There were many who thought the jokes were vulgar but said nothing. Why is it so hard for men to stand up to each other? Who says if one man says "hey thats not cool" that another man wouldn't stand beside him to agree? I liked the story "Stepping out of Bounds" where Nathan Einschlag showed how a man who isn't privileged in many ways other than his gender recognizes the importance of respect of all people. He actually went to college to learn and realized fitting in with his sports buddies was not all that important. However I think he only recognized this because his perspective was from a person who had to struggle and therefore felt more connected to women who all have to struggle to some degree due to their gender.

The main point is, sometimes a joke is not just a joke. The intention may be fun but we have to take responsibility for how the affect others. I don't want to tell men how to bond but when it hurts me or other people, and I have to witness it, something needs to be said.If we (men AND women) accept these jokes as as just that then we aren't paying attention to the meaning which in many cases can be offensive, hurtful and most of all normal. We talked about this in class. It becomes okay to say "I got raped on that test" or "that movie was so gay". We forget what the words really mean. And much like an earlier post about "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell", men and women alike accept the subjugation of women because its all in "fun".

Ashley Halpin said...

It is quite obvious to me that bonding is not the same for all men. There are so many factors that go into a person (race, socioeconomic class, age, education, sexuality, etc. . .) that one cannot simply say, “You are a man, so you bond like this (insert male bonding ritual).” In the blog prompt, it is especially clear that each of the subcultures juxtaposed in the question are very different in one universal way: one has more access to power than the other. As we have discussed in class, that alone changes the many ways in which the people who belong to that subculture perform their masculinity (and within that, how they bond with other men). For instance, as we have learned, black men do not have access to power (education, better jobs, better housing, etc. . .), therefore they maintain their own masculinity that in many ways is different from white masculinity. It becomes even more complicated when a man is black and a homosexual. Certainly their male bonding will be different from white males and heterosexual males of any race. No one can decide one day that they are going to ignore a part of who they are and consequently, neither can anyone when examining these issues.

In American society, I do think that certain experiences, such as alcohol consumption and sports, are common factors for many men. For instance, sports (and this is purely from observation through life experiences) seems to be a bonding experience for many cross-sections of men in American culture. However, what sports may mean and how they are performed by a man of upper class may be completely different for a man of lower class and the same can be said for any comparison. Even though sports may be a common denominator does not mean that the experience is different depending upon one’s race, socioeconomic status, sexuality, age, etc. . . .

In terms of alcohol consumption among men, I enjoyed the article “Why College Men Drink” because while it talked about the consumption of alcohol in terms of men, it more specifically talked about it in terms of college students. The author, Rocco L. Capraro quoted McClelland, “When men are not powerful, they may often compensate for their lack of power to seek an ‘alternative to obtaining social power’ with alcohol.” The author did not ignore that men are still a category in and of itself and still are under the umbrella of patriarchy. However, he more specifically throughout the article acknowledged how alcohol plays a role in the lives of one specific group, male college students. Overall, masculinity or more specifically in this question, male bonding, is not the same for all men and it should never be assumed that it is. However, one can still compare subcultures of men and analyze how they are similar under patriarchy, yet different because of the other groups they belong to.

Brian H. said...

In response to the question, "is there a common thread linking all men together?”, I feel that to some slight degree there is a shared bond between men, but to very little extent. As the previous posts stated, it would be quite a bold statement to say that all men share a sense of brotherhood, just as it would be to claim that all women share a sense of sisterhood. Personally, I do not feel like I have a bond with other men. It isn't even a matter of ethnicity or economic background, or gender, but of life experiences.

Everyone, regardless of gender, is at different point in their life and has had vastly different life experiences, be it with family, friends, or background in general. Again, to some extent things like alcohol, sports, or sexist jokes can bring men together, but not to the point of claiming that it's some sort of universal brotherhood bond. Sure I could play beer pong with another man, but I don't feel like gender would bring us together in any sort of unique way. The same is true with sports, if I play soccer with another man, I don't feel like gender would affect our attitudes. I don't think that the bond created by binge drinking or playing sports is affected by gender, but more by personality and shared experience. In my opinion, there absolutely must be more to a friendship than the fact that both people have penises. There must be more common ground like interest in music, hobbies, similar experiences, etc. to create a real bond. I'm sure that both men and women can agree that genitalia is not enough to bring people together.

I think that the assumption that all men bond over sexist jokes is a stereotypical and sexist view of men. To extrapolate that's how we all act would be a huge oversight. It's easy to assume that after reading "The Fraternal Bond as a Joking Relationship: a Case Study of the Role of Sexist Jokes in Male Group Bonding" that all men behave in this manner. But, in the title, it states that it’s a case study, and in my opinion, fraternities are in absolutely no way representative of male groups as a whole. The hyper masculine atmosphere of fraternities escalates the sexism and occurrence of sexist jokes. I feel that this reading only showed one extreme example of sexism in male only spaces and only reinforced stereotypes that do not exist in other settings. While it is important to deconstruct events like the frat penis envy "joke", it is important to keep in mind that this is in no way representative of all male groups.

Personally, in regards to sexist jokes, I feel that since I identify as queer, it actually distances me from most heterosexual men. Where there would usually be the common ground of interest in the opposite sex, my same sex attraction puts a wall between me and most heterosexual men. Whether it's a culmination of homophobia, feeling uncomfortable, or a lack of understanding, there is definitely a feeling of separation after outing myself to other straight identifying males. Overall, in my opinion there is so much diversity in the world that gender alone is enough to bring people together.

Lauren said...

Whenever I think of male bonding rituals, I am always stuck remembering the Sambia tribe in Papua New Guinea whose young boys become men after swallowing the ejaculate of the elders to virtually bring to life their “semen organs” so that they, too, can begin production. (Article here: http://www.ndnu.edu/about-us/mission_diversity/documents/Herdt-RitualsofManhoodMaileInitiationinPapuaNewGuinea-cln.pdf. )
In the United States, things are a bit different (definitely not as homoerotic since homosexuality is indoctrinated as quite incongruent in terms of achieving American Male Masculinity™), but still I find them, as an outsider I will readily admit, absurd. Through Mr. Hurt’s documentaries, we have witnessed some black male bonding techniques, from the more light-hearted forms of solidarity and genuine brotherhood, to the inception of gangs as a means of exerting and showcasing raw masculine power not afforded to them in other outlets in a predominantly white male powered country. With white men, it is slightly more simplistically delivered and it’s easy to conjure a thought of middle-aged heterosexual white men drinking Budweiser while watching a football game in HD. The interesting thing to note about male bonding, though, is that it does seem to be altered based on levels of oppression within one’s racial, socioeconomic, or sexuality-based identifiable paradigm.
I would not necessarily say that there is a common uniting factor between all men, or that they have one another’s back, because I don’t think male allegiance can transcend hundreds of years of oppression with clearly defined roles based on race, religion, or sexuality. As explained in Byron Hurt’s essay in Men Speak Out about his experience in Daytona Beach, while the black men may defend their sexually assaultive behavior as being on par with white men’s behavior on Spring Break (which might be to some a point of similarity), Hurt also describes their follow-up, when they beseech Hurt to basically not play them out or disrespect them like the white man has done. If anything, the common thread uniting men is their responsibility toward women in multiple cultures which they openly express and is often the root of male inadequacy (when they fail to live up to them, rather documented amongst latino and black American males) which doesn’t seem to translate toward bonding techniques. Instead it tends to manifest in the form of sexist jokes (“…the male group bond consisted almost entirely of aggressive words that were barely contained by the responsibility absolving rule of the joke form” [Lyman, 151]), or talks of scoring (“If someone on the team had started dating a girl, all the team wanted to know if they had had sex yet” [Pringle, 241]) which is rather perplexing. It all goes back to, though, the tools being there, but their implementation remaining undone. It is clear that on many occasions the two binary genders have certain senses of responsibility toward each other (in The Real Slim Shady article, the author’s girlfriend and his friend’s girlfriend are basically idolizing the idea of the tough, strong man who can take care of them, as an example) rooted in culture and preference (whether it’s wrong or not is clear to some of us, but still – baby steps if we’re talking about getting everyone on board and making real progress), and as Brandon Arber says, “It’s just common sense” that men and women come together in feminism, in basic justice, out of that sense of responsibility they recognize that exists. It is time the idea of responsibility manifests itself into movement and solidarity across more binary gender lines. It is time male bonding moves to people bonding.

Ross said...

This week’s readings relate strongly to Men against Rape. They illuminate our organization’s strengths and expose some of the dangers we face. I’d like to talk these topics using examples from Lyman and Arber, and then offer my own example of a progressive group that was poisoned by out-of-control fraternal exclusivity.

As Lyman points out, “male bonding…frequently takes the form of a joking relationship by which men create a serial kind of intimacy to ‘negotiate’ the latent tension and aggression they feel toward each other.”(ML 148) The joke becomes a social tool with which men can express themselves in ways that would be taboo in serious conversation. I think that even an earnest conversation about a serious topic is easier to have if the participants are willing to joke a bit about the topic and keep an element of lightheartedness. Even beyond the joking relationship, male space allows men to discuss some issues in relative comfort. Arber expresses this well when he says, “for many guys, sitting in a room full of feminist women doesn’t sound like the most comfortable way to spend an afternoon…sometimes people feel alienated or personally blamed for being the oppressor.” (MSO 164) Male space and means of communication are the unique tools that MAR brings to the fight against sexual violence.

Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword. Jokes can break the ice, but they can also trivialize a topic and desensitize people towards it. Male space makes men feel safe, but it can easily become a tool of exclusion. To make matters worse the line between comfort and exclusivity is usually visible only to outsiders. We need diversity in MAR, especially gender diversity, in order to keep us vigilant against creeping privilege.

I’ve experienced this creep. In my sophomore year of high school my friends and I formed a club for students with progressive politics and a progressive bent. We were very active around town, fighting for local issues and against our obstructionist school administration. Although I believe we made a difference, gender privilege began to take its toll. The club’s original membership was almost entirely male. Gender issues mattered to us, but the masculine atmosphere was thick and we carried out our club-related conversations in joke-ridden masculinese. In our club’s second year the demographics changed as a horde of new, mostly female freshmen joined and many of the original members left. We ended up with an officer core of about four men surrounded by over a dozen younger women. The walls went up. The men (me included) monopolized the conversation and decided most important business outside of meetings. The club became less democratic than it had been previously and we groomed what few males we could recruit for officer positions, ignoring qualified females. Looking back I can identify this as gender and age privilege. At the time, unfortunately, I became suspicious of these challenges to the established order and obstructed the creative ideas of anyone outside the ruling clique. All this in a progressive club made up of people (me included) who considered themselves if not feminist at least anti-sexist.

After we graduated the women took charge and took the club in a new direction that I think is more representative of the membership. This example demonstrates the danger of the fraternal bond: it can create sexist situations regardless of the intentions of those involved and it can render that sexism invisible. I hope this helps explain why I voice so much concern about the power balance amongst every demographic at our meetings. I don’t want this club to be a repeat of my high school experience and I hope that if we err, we err on the side of inclusivity.

Abigail said...

I imagine that there is more of a bond among women then among men…just like we discussed during our second class that a man looking in the mirror likely see’s a human, a woman looking in a mirror see’s a woman, and a black woman would likely see a woman of color. The more marginalized a person is the more that person would see themselves as different and recognize what stands out to others. I know I look at and pay more attention to women than men though I don’t know if the same is true for men, or any man since I can only talk about myself as a (one) woman.

In “Stepping Out of Bounds” Nathan tells of his experiences of entering college and being on the basketball team. He seemed to have a good relationship with his coach and teammates in high school though didn’t fit in when it came to college. People wanted him to be more aggressive, loud, and irresponsible which I guess they equated as being masculine. So he didn’t have a connection with his team because they valued and prioritized differently then himself though I don’t know if this is proof that there isn’t a male thread that bonds men together.

carly mac said...

Over the course of this and other classes, I have found that it is very easy for me to point out when we are forgetting differences in gender, race, and sexuality. However, one oppression that I often forget to consider in our matrix of oppression is differences in class. Class issues in men’s friendships were apparent in this week’s readings.

Nathan Einschlag’s essay “Stepping Out of Bounds” was a good example of how socioeconomic status affects relationships between men. Einschlag explains how he always felt he was different from other men. He always had the feeling that “I simply wasn’t like them” (43). When he attended college, he knew that his upbringing in an immigrant neighborhood in Queens set him apart from the other members of his basketball team. Unlike the other men on his team who were from wealthy families, Einschlag felt he had something to prove. Einschlag states, “They were rich kids who didn’t think about their parent’s money or care too much about education. Their father’s business would hire them, so what did a C-minus or a D-plus here or there matter? My priorities were different. I didn’t have time to stay and bullshit about “bitches and beer” in the locker room” (45). Because Einschlag wanted to make something of himself from the ground up, with no help from wealthy family members, he had to spend his time studying and doing homework instead of participating in the male rituals such as getting drunk and objectifying women. Because of his lower social class and his desire to “be focused, and not be dragged into the streets like so many before me,” (43) Einschlag “felt like the odd man out” (45). In fact, he states that his masculinity was often questioned and he was considered weird and uptight because he didn’t want to party with the other jocks. Einschlag rejected the “hypermasculine jock culture that existed in Division III sports” and was punished with social isolation and a lack of friendships because of it (46).

carly mac said...

Karen Walker’s “‘I’m Not Friends the Way She’s Friends’: Ideological and Behavioral Constructions of Masculinity in Men’s Friendships” also had information on how men’s relationships differ across social class. Walker notes how “social class influences men’s capacities for conforming to gender ideologies” (326). Walker begins her article with what is, I think, a very valid and important point. She states that professional and other middle class men are “the primary groups on which cultural stereotypes are based” and that research on men’s friendships usually focuses on middle-class, college-aged men (326). It is important for us to seek out, and also to produce, research and literature on men who are not young and rich. These are not the only men worthy of attention. Walker’s research found that working-class men typically socialize in public spheres, while professional/middle-class men are experiencing a “phenomenon of domestication” in which they are socializing more and more in the household (329). Working-class men also find joking to be more important in friendships than professional men. “Men friends, particularly working-class men, used harsh teasing as a form of social control to reinforce certain behaviors” and this teasing is “an important way of defusing tension as well as reaffirming values of friendship for working-class men” (332). I thought that the reason that Walker found for this was very interesting. Walker claims that working-class men “depended on friends to help them attain higher standards of living: friends provided craft services whose prices are high in the formal market and thus many working-class people’s material lives were somewhat improved through the help of their friends. Failure to reciprocate had implications not only for friendship but also for family income. Jokes about a friend’s failure to reciprocate became a public statement about his failure to conform to recognized norms, and they were a way for someone to handle his anger at his friend” (332).

As we can see, there are plenty of differences in men’s friendships based on class, and issues that arise because of these differences. It is important for us to remember that socioeconomic status is an oppression, much like race and sexuality, that we have to remember when speaking about men and men’s lives. Working and lower-class men should not be left out of this dialogue. For those of you who are especially interested in this topic, Dorothy Allison’s novel “Bastard Out of Carolina” is an excellent portrayal of masculinities amongst lower-class white men.

Jo said...

In the Lyman article, “The Fraternal Bond as a Joking Relationship…” there are many things worth discussing and I look forward to them coming up in class. Something that I’d like to call attention to is on page 149 where Lyman makes some assumptions about the men’s behavior. In talking about the joking relationship between the men and woman, the passage reads:

“The guys used the joking relationship to negotiate the tension they felt between sexual interest in the girls and fear of commitment to them. The guys contrasted their sense of independence and play in male friendships to the sense of dependence they felt in their relationships with women, and used hostile joking to negotiate their fear of the ‘loss of control’ implied by intimacy.”

This section really annoyed me while I read it and my initial thought was “where is he getting this from?!” “Says who?!” I spent some time digging through it and connected it to a couple other passages. Think about all of the verbal abuse that they say takes place in the fraternity house, with the heckling about their mothers’ sexuality and women they associate with especially. Lyman states that , “joking mobilized the commitment of the men to the group by policing the individual men’s commitments to women…” and reiterates this stating that “…the social function of the sexist jokes among the guys, [is] to control the threat that individual men might form intimate emotional bonds with women and withdraw from the group.” It seems to me that this type of verbally abusive joking would serve that purpose extremely well. It would cause them to view all women as objects and objects with a negative connotation causing them to not want to identify themselves with the women in any way. This would be especially true when the same language is applied to the one woman that they have a deep connection with, their mothers. The men speak proudly of the bonds they create with one another in this way and it seems to be important to them on an emotional level; they talk about the tight friendships they’ve formed. However, Lyman says that in this way, “…male group friendship seems more like a defense against vulnerability than a positive ideal.”

The men in this study show obvious surrender to groupthink and I was thinking of how this applies to other groups. I have seen it at work in a group of women when someone starts talking negatively about men. This seems to happen often anytime there are more than two women in a conversation, eventually, they engage in men-bashing. I think that the purpose it serves in this context is to create a feeling of solidarity, of sisterhood. Many years ago, I made a decision not to allow myself to take part in the bashing anymore. I realized that it was doing more harm to me than good. Sometimes it is difficult, because I might think I have something to say that will make people laugh, but it is worth it to me to refrain. Most of the time I simply don’t take part, but often I will have to interject my two cents to the group of women and inform them that it doesn’t serve us to speak that way; it only serves to further separate us, men and women.

When I think of this research in application to the groups of men that I know, it fills me with more questions than answers. Does this same fear of intimacy/commitment with women rule the joking relationships of adult men (out of college age), and what about the men that are in long-term committed relationships with women? How generalizable are Lyman’s results? I think that I will start asking my guy friends what their take is on the subject. I’ll let you all know how that works out. lol

Evan Wyss said...

I certainly think there is at least one thing that ties all men together as far as those who deal with playing the role of masculinity. I think this common thread is the fact that every man realizes that the brand of masculinity that is prescribed for him even before he is born doesn't align completely, mostly, or even at all with his true self.

I can't remember where I heard this, but I think it was a video we watched in class about rappers. A rapper was discussing how everyone in the industry (but I would extend this to most men), deal with two selves every day of their lives. There is the man that they know and have to portray a their public percieved self in order to get recognition and privedge as a "masculine man". Then there is the other man that is the true self that has to be hidden when it presents itself as unacceptable to the society or social environment.

Too often men are monolithically categorized as well as over-simplified. The act that many play is often confused with the true self that is, often unadmittedly so, hidden, but there.

Nathan Einschlag, the other of the article "Stepping Out Of Bounds" dealt with the phenemonon of realizing that his true internal self was not acceptable to much of his environment. He couldn't relate to the other basketball player's misogynist language and actions. He knew that it wasn't right, and it begs the question, did anyone on the team truly feel like they had to behave like that or did they feel that it was expected of them to preserve their masculine perception.