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.

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§ One Response to The Terror of a Threatened Manhood

  • Wow! This response hit me as very powerful! I am very impressed with your opinions and how you have stood up for your beliefs for most of your life. Just like you, I believe that hope is the most that some of us can give in issues like this. It is obvious that society is in desperate need of change if they can judge a person to be homosexual by how they look at their nails or how they act or do not act upon women. It worries me how petty the “great American” society really is. The fact that change is so hard to even imagine in our world almost makes me give up hope. The fact that authorities and officials do not see a problem in these sexist issues is even worse. I used to think that only women were held to an unfair standard of beauty and gender roles, but these essays opened my naive eyes to the fact that everyone, including men are constantly being scrutinized by the public eye. I guess the only hope for change, is if each person can change individually, one step at a time.

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