In American culture, what makes a man? Is/are there a particular set of circumstances that make one a man? Is it behavioral or totally physical? In short, is the possession of a penis alone good enough to constitute being a “man” in American, (or any), culture?
I’ve asked this question before, but got very little response to it. I’m hoping that I get more now. Here’s why I’m bringing this up, again. I was reading on Rachel Maddow’s blog about the war on women’s reproductive rights and I noticed in the comments section a rather interesting discussion on the liberation of women, but how American society gives males two choices: androgyny (often seen as being gay or effeminate) or hyper-masculinity.
You are right. Something is very wrong with our lack of male-identification. Part of this is self defeating though. Men are so gorram terrified of being called “gay” or somehow “female” that they shy away from anything and everything that they might otherwise identify w/. Men are facing a crisis of identity and it hasn’t been addressed. Men need to go through their own renaissance era so they can wake up and rejoin the rest of us. How we do that I don’t know. Those who push hardest against things like women’s rights also tend to screw men up in that those very same people won’t allow men to grow. Fears of gender roles punish men as much as women and I totally agree it has to stop. I have blogged about that before, although perhaps not as much as I should have. I do not pretend that these men aren’t also victims, but perhaps I let my outrage blind my fairness. I feel that our society currently favors men, but you are correct that there’s a catch-22 that comes w/ that. The point is men should learn to evaluate reality based on themselves just as women do. And both men and women should learn to come together as individuals to work in harmony. Men don’t need to idealize “masculinity” or “femininity” and neither do women. The idea that something is “man” and “woman” I believe is the problem. We need to realize we’re all people and we differ and we need to accept ourselves for who we are instead of always constantly trying to appease others. Many men likely move to the extreme, as you say, because they recognize that their reality doesn’t match w/ (as Tru-TV calls it) actuality. And that’s sad.
(Quote by Mickey Mouser).
The recent J Crew ad where the mother had painted her five-year old sons toenails hot pink is one of the reasons I wanted to cover this topic again. The reaction by some people, particularly in the media, has been, shall we say, nutty to some degree.
I wanted to (hopefully) have an intelligent discussion about what it means to be a man in American culture. I’m willing to explore the issue to its fullest, but please, let’s stay on topic.