Be a Man

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the two essays “Just Walk on By” and “Taking It” is an interesting contrast to the “Killing me softly 4” video we watched in regards to how women are portrayed in the media and its effects. This perspective however, is one that is less heard of. Although these two essays are short, I found them intriguing because it dives deep into the minds of the authors and how they faced discrimination in regards to gender and race. Being male in this society is often considered a genetic privilege whether it’d be in the career or the private settings at home. Men are considered to be the “head” of the house or his job and very rarely to we question the side- effects of being male. Being an African American male, Brent Staples expressed his views on what it was like seeing a woman run away from him on the street and how he reacted to it by altering his lifestyle and his behavior in public settings and also the way he dresses. Although he was timid, the color of his skin inspired fear and discrimination no matter his behavior. He mentioned that the makings of a “young thug” is that they subscribe to the popular notion that men can acquire power and fear and the ability to alter public space and that in turn, gets them in to trouble. Kriegel’s essay presents his struggles with polio and how being an “American man”, he was forced to “take it” and “beat” his disease no matter how difficult it was. Although he himself knew it, he could not admit it because his illness placed him at an elect amongst his other male friends. His ability to survive the disease made him a “man” and made others saw him that way.

A lot of times we hear a lot about how women are faced with immense discrimination in job settings and also at home. Women are “supposed” to be nurturing, caring and should be put in place within the household. We see how these stereotypes and discrimination influences women’s ideas about what they should be doing, how they should act and also how they should look. These two essays reminds me that these stereotypes actually make both sexes suffer. Men are no better in how they are expected to be strong and tough all the time. We hear less from them because they are raised to “suck it up” and overcome obstacles in their self reliance where it is more acceptable for women to ask for help. We forget that men are human too, and they need help just as any human being regardless of gender does. Boys are raised at a young age to not cry when they are upset and the reason being is because “they are a boy”. No questions asked. Girls on the other hand receive hugs and attention when they start crying. Society allows a bigger threshold for aggression in boys and often times encourages them in play and media but girls are encouraged to play with barbies and introduce them to the domestic world that they themselves will be in when they grow up. We place too much emphasis on the differences between men and women but not in the similarities that we all are human and need love and care just as much as anyone else does. Studies actually show that women and men are not all that different in their needs for emotional companionship and affection but we are constantly bombarded with images of how men and women should act and place the two sexes in opposite poles.

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