Society Defines it as Normal

February 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

This weeks readings i think relate to last weeks tremendously.  The four essays talk about being a man and whether certain attributes are appropriate for a man to do.  Who deems what “being a man” is?  I think it is society, our peers agree upon what is “normal” and go with it whole heatedly.  How can a person tell another what is normal when their isn’t a politically correct operational definition.

“The Myth of the Sexual Athlete” goes through the stages from boy to man.  Don Sabo goes through the evolution of the talk behind sports and how talk about “being a man” changes as these young boys grow up.  They have wrong perceptions of what is normal and then outcast those who don’t fit these wrong perceptions.  Don talks about how one has to be manly, strong, competitive, etc. and if they aren’t… well then you’re not accepted.  He uses the sports metaphors in the dating world, and scoring is an achievement .  I liked how Don acknowledged that the locker-room talk wasn’t usually correct and that he says in the end that he is glad to be able to stop pretending about what “being a man” is and that he doesn’t want to be alone, and that’s okay.

“Masculinity as Homophobia” also talks about “being a man” and leads into how it is more about how men are afraid of the perceptions of other men.  Kimmel points out how gender can be tested and talks about the fingernail test.  If you look at them one way you are a man but if you look at them in a different way then you are automatically a sissy.  I thought that was so ridiculous, that you can judge a person on the way that they look at their nails.  After reading this I asked my roommate, who is female, to look at her nails, she looked at them palm up and curling her fingers, does that mean she is manly?

These essays were interesting because they pointed out that you aren’t a man unless “followers” or society says that you are.  So in the end it looks as though men are only trying to please others.  If you don’t care what others say then is there really a point to trying to “be a man”?  What do you guys think?

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§ One Response to Society Defines it as Normal

  • These essays ultimately go back to the issue of patriarchy! Patriarchy is clearly the dominant voice in society judging everyone else and putting out the perfect example of who everyone should be. I never thought of Patriarchy however, dominating even over other men too! In “Masculinity as Homophobia” the author states “we are afraid of other men” and “we are ashamed to be afraid.” This means that not only are men telling women to be skinny, white, and have long hair; but men have to be manly, tough, aggressive, and powerful. Who is this main man who came up with all of these rules! He should be kicked in the butt! I also think it is interesting how in this same essay it talks about how women almost enable this power to men because feminists observe that men are in power therefore assuming men must be powerful. In the end it all comes down to racism, sexism, and the fight for power. Will this vicious circle ever end?

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