Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Masculinity...I thought I knew you....

One of my favourite artists, and someone who helped to create my idea of “real masculinity”, is Henry Rollins. I thought he was incredibly strong, aggressive, clearly able to fight physically, thoughtful, intelligent, and of course incredibly attractive, in short the perfect man (and I was 12). In reviewing different concepts and research articles concerning masculinity, in effort to contribute to this blog, I came across a 2 part YouTube video featuring Henry Rollins being interviewed by Oliver James, a clinical psychologist, as part of a “Man Test”. The “Man Test” is a serious of questions focusing on flushing out an individual’s masculine and feminine traits, and gauging what percentage of an individual’s personality traits would be masculine and feminine. I thought for sure that Henry Rollins would be “all man”, but the questions, responses, and the final score was shocking. Characteristics we see as stereotypically masculine or feminine may not be. In viewing the video, and listening to the responses to some very poignant questions about personal experiences and emotional reactions, it is easy to see how if we look at a man’s reactions or behaviors on a superficial basis it is easy to assume they are showing very stereotypically masculine qualities, when they are actually exhibiting a level of sensitivity or emotion, more akin to a feminine quality. The video does a very impressive job of illustrating the differences in what we see as feminine and masculine, and what psychologically, would be considered a more feminine or masculine response to a scenario or questioning. All in all I thought the video provides a visual example of the restrictive, empowering, and mythological ideals of masculinity that inform the theories of masculinity we have been reading about all semester long. ) )

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