The Silent Killer Of Men

The Silent Killer Of Men

No, not prostate cancer, hyper-masculinity.
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“You’re not a woman, use your man-hands.”

Why the hell are you wearing lipstick?”

“Why are you carrying your bag like a girl?”

No, these aren’t jokes.

These are real statements said to me by straight, cisgender men, who feel it is their duty, as men, to police my gender identity and expression, simply because it doesn’t conform to the standards of hyper-masculinity that are constantly being ingrained into little boys’ heads from the time they can comprehend that blue is a “boy color” and pink is a “girl color.” This archaic division between the sexes in the form of social and behavioral standards is what is allowing us to perpetuate this fabricated dichotomy.

In 2016, do we really live in a world where men are still so uncomfortable with femininity that they are compelled to adhere to a hyper-masculine agenda at all costs?

Based on my experiences and research, we have not been able to advance past these primordial behaviors.

If you have ever told someone or have witnessed someone being told to “man up” or “stop being a girl,” then you have contributed to a phenomenon that is literally killing men in our society.

If you identify as a man, you might want to reevaluate the way you look at life because it is a lot more precious than you think. According to "Gender and The Social Construction of Illness,"Men are encouraged from childhood to be stoical and so are not likely to see a doctor for non-serious health problems.”

According to the same source, women across the globe live five years longer than men on average. Men are “prone to chronic and health-threatening diseases, because of their lifestyle, and to a lesser extent, their occupations.”

Men are also more prone to putting themselves in dangerous situations. This recklessness in men can be attributed to machismo, which, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is an overemphasis on masculinity and power, often associated with a disregard for consequences and responsibility.

Men are also committing suicide three to five times more often than women. All these statistics are not just a mere string of coincidences. Because men are taught to be these assertive, emotionless, strong, always-in-control figures, they are suffering both emotionally and physically.

I’m sure everyone reading this has witnessed one of these detrimental byproducts of hyper-masculinity, whether it be in the news or real life.

Turn on the news, and I can assure you you will come across a story that was motivated by a machismo ideology. A woman being gang raped by several men, while others just witness it and laugh. A teenager killing a stranger in order to impress his buddies. A football player killing his girlfriend after finding out that she was transgender. These instances are not just isolated events. They are byproducts of a system that places masculinity as the superior, and femininity as the inferior, that equates vulnerability with weakness and that allows no room for deviation from this masculine role.

While feminism involves the equality between the sexes, feminists sometimes forget the issues that men face which, in turn, also prevent women from reaching equality. If women are ever going to have equal rights, we have to fix the internalized issues that are perpetuating sexist ideals and patriarchal values in men, first.

A patriarchal gender system puts the male ideal over the female. Thus, anything that is traditionally relates to women, like housework, child-rearing, or even simply being clean, is trivialized and put down. Femininity, as a whole, is demonized in our society.

The demonization of femininity goes hand in hand with the rampant amounts of homophobia that exists within heteronormative men. Many men will refer to anything even remotely feminine as “gay,” using the word as a synonym for something negative. This “femiphobia” even exists within the LGBT community; feminine queer people are seen as the least desirable and are the most fetishized in the community, while the heteronormative or “straight acting” people in the community are idealized. According to a study conducted in 1984 by psychologists Donald L. Mosher and Mark Sirkin, hyper-masculinity consists of three main traits:

  1. Callous sexual attitudes toward women.
  2. The belief that violence is manly.
  3. The experience of danger as exciting.

These dangerous byproducts are just three of the negative outcomes that arise from a hyper-masculine personality and hinder the advancement of gender equality.

Firstly, callous sexual attitudes toward women is a problem that has existed since primordial times. Men have this sense of entitlement when it comes to sex. If women don’t give them what they desire, they will feel that they have been robbed and may result to violence in order to gain back what they have been “robbed” of by the woman.

This leads into the second component of hyper-masculinity: the belief that violence is manly and attractive. This is an ideology that has existed for ages as well, stemming from the culture surrounding warfare. Men have been taught that assertiveness and violence is attractive because it proves that they are a “real man.” The last aspect of machismo that was discussed in this study is the phenomenon that men tend to find the experience of danger as more exciting than women, therefore, are willing to engage in risking taking and dangerous acts more as well. This recklessness is a big contributor to the lower life expectancy found in males. Men may find danger attractive because of an attempt to impress women, or simply because they find it will give them some sense of power.

Regardless, this factor is the last requirement in order to achieve a “manly” essence. In the media for example, companies constantly pander to our primordial instincts and depict men as aggressive and masculine, while depicting women as subservient to men and as sexual objects. Even when men are depicted nude, they are not portrayed merely as objects to sell a product; they are also selling masculinity along with it.

According to a psychological study conducted by Doctors Donald L. Mosher and Silvan S. Tomkins, “the ideological script of machismo stems from the ideology of the warrior and the stratifications that go along with warfare.”

For example, the relationships between victorious and vanquished, master and slave, man as the head of the house and the woman as his supplement, the patriarch and his children, etc. Although we may no longer live in these archaic societies, the ideologies of hyper-masculinity and machismo have been so deeply ingrained into our idea of what a man is that we are still socializing these behaviors that arose as far back as the hunter-gatherer societies.

But the blatantly obvious fact is, we are not currently living in a hunter-gatherer society. Men are no longer required to go out and hunt food; anyone can either own a farm or simply purchase food at the grocery store. Men are no longer the only one’s who go to war; anyone can enlist in the armed forces. Men are no longer required to be the head of the household; women, although still having to battle the wage gap, can get any job that a man can.

Since we clearly no longer have the need for these outdated gender roles in our society, why do we still enforce ideologies that perpetuate these roles and prevent us from reaching gender equality? These are the questions that we need to be asking ourselves, especially before having children.

Do we we want to instill in them the same values that are hindering us from achieving social progression?

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Educate Yourself And Spread Facts, Not Bias

Do you know the truth? Or are you allowing rumors to cloud your judgement of the political arena?

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In our society, the government has grown to be a capitalistic effort. Payout, backroom deals, we are unaware of many actions those that represent us take behind closed doors. The transparency we think we see is unrealistic and just not the way that politics actually work. In the entire world, governance has become essential to the survival and future of society. No two governments are the same, and they are essentially ever changing as many people of power change constantly.

This being said influence from these individuals rule the political sphere. Whether it be a local councilperson, senator, governor, or even the president.IN the U.S. our daily lives and wellbeing rest in the hands of the few. Some of these politicians are honest and work genuinely for the people. However, agenda frequently takes over the arena and leaves the decisions of our livelihood to the gains of politicians.

Our generation has the lowest voter turnout, leaving the decisions that we do have to older generations. Some of those hold ideologies that are not relevant nor acceptable to the climate we live in today. This is not a call to action but more of a thought. As someone who was incredibly uninvolved in politics, I wanted to look at why I lacked the care that other people my age held so passionately. I believe it starts with my distaste of conflict, which many people my age also agree with. Politics can lead to confrontation and negative conversation.

Therefore, who would want to make friendships and interactions awkward with an avoidable subject. I found myself straying from these conversations and becoming uncomfortable when friends assert opinions that I do not agree with. However, in taking classes where this environment hinges the change in industries I study. I was forced to form some type of opinion in the matter.

From here I decided to change the lens on how I looked at politics. Instead of shying away, I really listened to what my professors felt about it and their assertions. I then did my own research, looking into the history of matters that my peers and professors talked about. Educating myself on what the facts were, versus believing in rumors that I heard through the grapevine.

I started engaging friends in a positive manner, as opposing opinions are valuable in a holistic situational viewpoint. I became comfortable in the discomfort of politics and worked to learn what may be in store for our world. My point for this is to educate yourself on genuine fact. Do not assert opinions based on information that your friend or even a professor gives you, keep your knowledge on the subject relevant.

You never know when legislation may come out that seriously effects your way of life. Most importantly, knowledge is power and power is what those that leave us in ignorance have over us.

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