February 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
The Myth of the Sexual Athlete essay is an extremely accurate analysis of how many boys think about women while growing up. I recall the days back in middle school, when all the conversations at the lunch table and the boy’s locker room were about sex. Talking about women in a degrading manner was the norm. At that age, it was cool to talk about sex. We felt as if we were mature men and that women were just here to entertain our needs.
From my experiences growing up, I would disagree that this type of attitude primarily stems from being an athlete. At least in my middle school, it seemed as if all boys were guilty of this kind of talk. Even those who were not athletic and were just your typical student thought of sex as a sport. Personally, I believe this problem stems from the impact media has on our developing minds. Between the ages of 13 to 16, boys start to go through puberty and become very interested in women. When boys reach this age group, they begin to interpret the images of sexuality they see in magazines, the internet, and the television, as their perspective of what sex is about. These advertisements usually depict sex as being fun, crazy, and stimulating. While it can be all those things, the sensual side of sex is not depicted.
In conclusion, I believe that this problem has only gotten worse over the years. Women are continuously pressured into uncomfortable sexual encounters. I personally worry about the future generation. I’ll never forget when I was a senior in high school, and I saw a bunch of elementary kids looking at pornographic magazines. The depiction of women as sexual objects is extremely harmful for our society, especially from such a young age. Personally, I believe that stereotyping athletes as people who degrade women more than your average guy does not seem to be true. I’ve met many people who were the farthest thing from athletes who think and act the same way. Until our culture makes a drastic change in the way we depict ourselves, this problem will always exist.
February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
I’m glad that Michael Kimmel’s essay defined homophobia differently than what I am use to thinking of it. People usually think of it as men fearing gay men, but they can fear men in general. Another man can make them look weaker or not as smart, therefore; less masculine. That is where this fear comes from.
I think people can find this example in our society quite often. Men have a lot of pressure to provide for their wife or families. Publicly, it falls on them. This is starting to change, but very slowly.
I really liked the part when the man claims he has no authority or control. He claims that his wife, boss, and kids all boss him around. He has no authority. He truly feels powerless. Men are known to feel power in a group but then powerless as individuals. This can make people see why men may always be angry or frustrated when alone but eager to hang with his buds. The essay goes on to talk about men retreats and the popularity in men social gatherings. Also in the home, man caves are becoming very popular. But do women get a woman’s den? Men still feel this isolation in the home and feel they need to get away to be able to have power or authority.
I also liked the part where they asked people different traits and mannerisms they look for when they know someone is gay. And then they turned it around saying that straight men act the complete opposite to not be mistaken as being gay. But all the traits were what I wouldn’t mind a potential partner treating me with. Why not have them tell you all their emotions? Why not communicate and talk a lot to one another? Maybe the straight men could loosen up and take some pointers from their other fellow men.
February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
This essay really made me think about the different play on words that our society has. How men are looked at to be athletic to be manly. They must “score” with women. Men are to be “rough” and one “goal” in mind during intercourse. I liked how the essay pointed out, that with men having one goal in mind; they miss out on so many sensual feelings and other pleasure that they are not thinking about. That they can create their own sexual dysfunctions because of the mind game that society has set up for them.
I also found it disturbing to think about men wanting to treat women respectfully and that they too want some emotional satisfaction, but they can’t or won’t due to the expectation to be masculine. I see our society somewhat starting to turn away from this idea. Many men are giving their partners respect and the emotional support that they need also. I do not look at a man showing his feelings towards his partner not masculine. I think it gives a man more credit, but this is also coming from a girl. What do other men think about a man showing his partner emotional support instead of showing his “masculinity”?
February 29, 2012 § 3 Comments
Martha Coventry shines a light on the practices of genital “corrective” surgeries through her own experience and the experiences of others. As a child she had her clitoris reduced because it was deemed too long. The surgery violated her sense of self and wellbeing. She struggled with identity and self-esteem and endured a great amount of suffering over her secret surgery. Most importantly, the surgery which was supposed to “save” her from feeling abnormal was the very thing that created that feeling. She shares similar stories from others and shows the great damage done from these practices. In spite of these testaments from the patients themselves, the medical community refuses to acknowledge these surgeries as mutilating, harmful and completely unneccessary.
What was most shocking for most of us reading the essay was the position of the American Pediatrics Association has remained unchanged. The APA STILL recommends surgery on infants whose clitorises are over 3/8 of an inch or with penises less than an inch. Normal human variation is being stigmatized as so incredibly offensive that it must be eradicated. Why? Furthermore, in these instances, why wouldn’t it be wise to see if their body caught up to their genitals or vice versa? And say they don’t fit into the perfect image after given time, so what? Really? The surgery can be done later, with CONSENT, so what is the rush? This greatly bothered me and after weighing out several alternatives I believe the greatest motivational factor here is to ease the discomfort of the parents. They are the only ones who will see their childrens genitals for many many years and it is for their comfort the surgeries are done. The kids themselves don’t know what everyone else has in their pants until someone tells them, again, much later. So what’s the hurry? The parents get creeped out. I find that a surgery done, not in the child’s benefit but for the comfort of the parents, is absolutely unacceptable. This IS genital mutilation.
February 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
I appreciated that this reading was assigned for our course. I think sometimes when talking about feminism(s) we can forget the ways in which men are subject to hierarchical structures as well. Michael Kimmel puts it well when he writes that “men’s feelings are not the feelings of the powerful, but of those who see themselves as powerless…feelings that come inevitably from the discontinuity between the social and the psychological, between the aggregate analysis that reveals how men are in power as a group and the psychological fact that they do not feel powerful as individuals.”
His point about the influence of perceived social humiliation struck a chord with me. I think this rings true with women as well, but is a larger fear for men. Kimmel mentions depression caused by threatened masculinity, but I think we should also be paying attention to anger. Perhaps more than we think, anger can be explained by perceived humiliation and threatened masculinity.
What do the ladies and men think?
February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Don Sabo’s article “The Myth of the Sexual Athlete” talks about how men interact together about sexual feelings, how aspects of a sport are portrayed as sex, and what he thinks men really want. When talking about his locker room experiences as an athlete, he describes his younger years as being heavily influenced by his team members. They would look at Playboy’s and talk about boobs in the locker room. I think this goes on because if a boy were to say that he didn’t want to be disrespectful and look at a girl in that way, he would probably be teased just as the boys he mentioned were. They may say he is a virgin, implying that there is something wrong with that. This makes boys think that they would be more accepted or thought more highly of if they had sex with all the girls they could.
The topic of men’s sports is brought up because they are thought of as not just a male but as a sexual athlete, and one that is agile, attractive, and able to please a woman. Men often see women as a sport. Scoring without being emotionally attached to the woman is their ultimate goal . The male is viewed as more masculine than if had strong feelings for her without having sex. This partially comes from men feeling the need to be comfortable with being alone, not afraid of losing someone. This gap keeps men from having a deep understanding relationship with women.
Then there is the needs and wants of a man. Part of them wants love and intimacy and part of them fantasize about sexual desires without having commitment. This is a tug-o-war between a man’s heart and his mind. Their wants do not match up with what they need. At some point, they will realize that the social construction they have experienced about their masculinity does not match the way they really feel.
My favorite paragraph was the very last one when he says he is opening up to women’s opinions, learning things about himself, and reconstructing his sexuality. He makes a lasting statement that relates to everyone, “I have stopped pretending that i enjoy being alone. I never did like feeling alone.” When you pretend to be someone you’re not and try to be what society wants you to be, you will feel alone and lost. You have to find out who you are and embrace it.
February 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
I decided to put a link to the band Rise Against’s song “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”. It’s a song that was the band’s contribution to the It Gets Better campaign and I just thought I’d share it with you guys and see what you guys think. To me, it’s a very powerful song and–I can’t lie–brought me to tears when I first heard it.
🙂 I hope you guys find it as inspirational as I do.