Powerless Men

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.

§ 2 Responses to Powerless Men

  • I definitely agree with all the points you make in this response! When seeing the title “Masculinity as Homophobia,” I automatically assumed it would be talking about gay rights. As a feminist, I have grown up doing everything I can to prove that I, as a woman, can do everything a man can. This thought is exactly what Kimmel is talking about when feminists almost enable the idea that men are in power. Also as a feminist, I never thought that men are afraid of what other men think about them. After reading this essay, everything makes sense! All those times my old boyfriends would get moody if their friends would say I had him wrapped around my finger, or all those times guys blow off girls to hang out with their guy friends, comes from the insecurities of what other men think of them. In a patriarchal world, the men are expected to be the bread winners, head of the household, and the strong protector. I have always felt so strongly for women’s rights, and never stopped to think that society puts the same type of gender role pressure on the men as well. Patriarchy is not only dominating women, but it dominates how men should act as well.

  • I also enjoyed the essay and you make some good points about the modern day examples of the pressure men feel. Plus it is a great idea for men to express more emotions and talk instead of fearing being labeled as gay. I just wanted to add that in heterosexual relationships us women also need to encourage that and actually choose the nice guy. We are all apart of creating all of these roles and stereotypes so we all need to change the ways we interact with each other. Thankfully there has been some change in the rise of the “bromance” movies. While a lot of it is silliness it also supports men opening up to each other, talking about their relationships and feelings. Maybe I am being too optimistic though.

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