The Terror of a Threatened Manhood
February 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Michael Kimmel’s article, “Masculinity As Homophobia” sent me for a loop; it was unpleasant.
Kimmel describes the American standard of manliness in a, sadly, accurate light. Americans exaggerate the credentials we set upon men and uphold them in any situation the man can be publicly seen. Because of this, any form of emasculation leads to the idea that the targeted individual is now less of a man, which results in him becoming “the homosexual”. And since this is the most degrading this a man can be, he must reassert his manliness to no longer be “the homosexual”. To me, this is problematic.
Growing up, and even today, I have always been victim to the fear of being perceived as a sissy. Kimmel references as survey that showed that women were more likely to fear murder and rape, while men were afraid of humiliation; I’ve always sympathized with the men. Being seen as weak and less powerful had always been a concern for me, which, like many who fall victim to this train of thought, has gotten me into trouble. I have always had the readiness to fight. Defending the honor of myself or someone close to me was always something I was up to do, and I never cared about who or what I was going to fight.
This instilled sense of a need to prove my own “manliness” and the fact that I’m not a sissy has gotten me more scars than benefits. The anxiety and restlessness that drove me to confront these things never seem to learn, despite the consequences I tend to receive. And, as one who values their manly pride, no matter how bad the situation ends, I never have been able to go to the authorities; it’s just too demeaning to seek for help. It’s sad, but it’s what I honestly think.
I hope that, in the future, we release these ideas and can attain a peace of mind when it comes to manliness. As an activist, I recognize the need to change myself, but as a person who has had this ideal beaten into me before, I cannot let it go. But… I still can hope.