Posts tagged with ‘masculism’ include the following:
Was reading a YouTube comment gender debate—because I never want to be happy—when this happened.
These two were in a run-of-the-mill personal suffering pissing contest until something abruptly flipped and the dumb guy and the dumb girl both suddenly, angrily, started to prove each other’s points and didn’t realize that they weren’t fighting anymore.
Why Boys Have it Easy (-er) on Halloween
"Slut-shaming" is a very loaded term. It’s a thing, but it’s not applicable here.
Hugo Schwyzer, a feminist blogger and gender studies professor at Pasadena City College, says it well:
(Hugo’s status as an advocate for women and men has been questioned by both groups, but that doesn’t nullify every one of the observations he’s made.)
…those of us who advocate for girls aren’t primarily concerned that girls are showing too much skin. Rather, the problem lies in the compulsory sexualization that is so much a part of today’s Halloween celebrations for teens. A lot of us are more upset by the absence of options than by the absence of fabric; we know that pressuring girls to act sexy is not the same thing as encouraging them to develop a healthy, vibrant sexuality that they themselves own. I don’t have a problem with “sexy bar wench” costumes; I have a problem when those sorts of costumes are the only ones young women are expected or encouraged to wear.
One year, when I was little, I wanted to be Peter Pan for Halloween. My mom made me a costume and it looked awesome—I was so excited. I got to school, and a horde of Scream killers, Freddies, Jasons, and chainsaw murderers teased and laughed at me for having a “girly” costume. Because from a young age, boys are pressured to assert their junior masculinity in multiple ways, one of them being their Halloween costume. Tights and a cap-and-feather weren’t violent or dominant enough.
Things got better as I grew up. I could be pretty much whatever I wanted for Halloween, because there was a lot of diversity in what I saw other guys wearing. Ninjas, Ghostbusters, and Robots were still there, but so were judges, clowns, Hunter Thompson, mailmen, etc.
In many ways, it’s a microcosm of how media works. The brilliant tagline of Miss Representation comes to mind: you can’t be what you cant see. Lots of media paints a reductive/harmful/inaccurate/impossible picture of men, but it’s diluted by the sheer diversity and variety of male characters there are. There scores of strong and noble heroes, but there are also scores of meek and introverted geniuses, and scores of savvy, calculating villains.
Characters…costumes. You get it.
Now look at women. Look at women on Halloween. My female peers were pressured into being princesses and ballerinas as kids. Then they grew up, and what was the variety they were presented with? Sexy nurse, sexy cat, sexy teacher. Sexy ghostbuster, sexy clown, sexy ninja.
The praise that most frequently falls on a little boy’s ears is “did you lift that by yourself? you’re so strong! you’re going to grow up to be big and strong!” This, of course, reflects and reinforces the values we use to assess males. It outweighs “you’re so smart” and the especially rare “you’re so handsome.”
BUT by nowhere near as much as “you’re so pretty!” dominates the ears of little girls. It’s the go-to compliment. Girls are raised by media and even by unwitting parents to derive most of their confidence from their appearance. They’re taught that their value is in their body and their face, and so it remains that way. And “pretty” eventually morphs into “sexy.”
When my male friend chooses a costume, he might choose one because it’s scary (Werewolf) or cool™ (James Bond) or funny (Austin Powers) or esoteric (Captain Kirk). Some guys think of costumes based on what will show off their bodies, but it’s an even mix. Those guys are out for validation—they want to be looked at and found attractive. And that’s a natural (if often overindulged) desire.
When my female friend chooses a costume, she has to face the inevitable question: sexy or non-sexy? That’s the first question. Our culture has made it so. If she doesn’t want to show off her body, or doesn’t feel she has the “right” body to show off, she settles on a non-sexy costume. Then she has to accept that she’s going to line up for pictures in her cool homemade robot costume with a group of friends that are showing more skin than not, and she’s going to be perceived as the frumpy one. Some people will perceive it as a sign of weakness or unattractiveness or prudishness. Even if she doesn’t subscribe to that cultural mindset, she’s surrounded by people who do.
It’s not like girls naturally have the show-offy mindset of the Chippendales guys, it’s just that they’re told by the culture that it’s all they have to offer.
The argument that dressing in a low-cut belly-shirt and booty shorts for Halloween is an empowering display of the female form will never sit right with me. Even if that is truly the intention in some cases, and that validation and craving desire have nothing to do with it, we live in a culture where a girl’s appearance is viewed as her most important characteristic, and I think these costumes just play into that.
Like Hugo says, “I don’t have a problem with “sexy bar wench” costumes; I have a problem when those sorts of costumes are the only ones young women are expected or encouraged to wear.”
If the same kind of diversity that exists in men’s costumes existed in women’s costumes, it would even out. There would still be “sexy bar wenches” here and there. That just means that someone elected to use their once-in-a-year chance to costume publicly to show off their body. (Like dudes who dress as Chippendales strippers.) I personally think doing that reflects a mindset I don’t approve of, but it’s not really harmful. Just a little annoying and indulgent.
There’s nothing wrong with showing off, but I’d love to see girls showing off by being scary or funny or cool™ or esoteric. Sexy isn’t the only thing worth being.
(Cue the retaliation of: “there are scary-sexy and funny-sexy and cool™-sexy and esoteric-sexy costumes out there!” Right. But why add the compulsory sexy?)
by Linda Holmes for NPR.
I cannot help asking, even more than I usually do when I watch scripted comedies: Where, on television, are the men who both like football and remember birthdays? Where are the men who can have a highly insightful drink-and-talk with friends? Where are the men who are great dads, great husbands, great boyfriends? Where are the men who are dedicated to important jobs? Where are the men who aren’t seeking reassurance about what it means to be men? Where are, in short, all the men I rely on in my day-to-day life?
[…] it really begins to look like men are the new women, when it comes to being mercilessly pigeonholed and mocked for failing to represent an impossible ideal of perfect behavior and perfect looks.
I’m so happy this article was written. I’ve been pretty pissed about the fall lineup, and now I don’t even have to write about it.
The cultural conversation about gender roles/gender issues is dominated by feminism. This can’t be disputed.
This is fine, because women had it much worse for much longer. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, the world wouldn’t even be starting to think about men’s issues.
Because what got us into thinking about things like body image issues and gender roles was the initial impetuses (impeti? no.), namely:
- women not being allowed to vote
- or wear pants
- or own property
- or do basically anything.
The movement started because a bunch of smart women realized that it didn’t have to be that way, they were sick of that shit, and they stood up for themselves.
In doing so they threw a wrench in the gears of the old and outdated machine called patriarchy, which began to clunk and shudder and start malfunctioning. All of a sudden, we started realizing there are scores of underlying issues beneath the surface. Things like unrealistic and suffocating beauty standards. Things like the virgin/whore dichotomy. Things like restrictive gender-performance requirements that actually don’t accommodate three dimensional human beings. And jesus christ we let it leak into television and movies that we show kids this is a fucking disaster we need to fix this.
A lot of these nuanced issues, however, affect both men and women.
But they are primarily discussed in a feminist context, as they apply to women.
So whenever I bring them up, there’s sort of an implied “also.”
(Which shouldn’t be necessary, but what the hell, it doesn’t hurt anyone.)
EVERY time I bring up an issue that is mostly discussed in a feminist context and I talk about how it applies to males
someone comes in with YEAH BUT ALSO WOMEN. DON’T YOU FORGET IT.
That’s how every one of these arguments online starts. Because then I get defensive and resentful of the fact that my “yes women but also men” is being responded to with “but also women.” It’s not a tug-o-war. Discussing problems men and boys face does not exclude women and girls from the equation, so please don’t exclude men and boys from the equation.
Young boys are under immense pressure to demonstrate and perform hetero rituals in order to avoid hazing.
"Yeah well young girls feel pressured to be skinny and have eating disorders because of it."
Yes, I know. This isn’t a game of tennis. I feel very strongly about taking down the monolithic industry built upon selling young girls an impossible goal and products to help them mimic it.
But that’s not what I’m talking about right now. And there are thousands of other people talking about that right now. But the nightmare that middle school boys face in the locker room is not being talked about nearly as much, so please let me do that without interrupting and derailing with stats about how they’ll grow up to make more money than their female counterparts in the same miserable soul-crushing cubicle jobs.
Because right now, they’re middle schoolers, and they shouldn’t be miserable in places (such as schools) where they’re supposed to feel safe.