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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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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Donald Trump's Sanctions Toward The Iranian Government Are Giving Us Painful Flashbacks To North Korea

Whether the sanction is effective is uncertain. But just like the North Korean nuclear problem, there will also be an answer soon.

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The recent news is that Iran president Hassan Rouhani is willing to talk with Donald Trump and the American government about newly established sanction towards Iran. Three months ago, Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would exit the Iran Nuclear Agreement and threatened to impose sanctions on Iran nuclear in 180 days. Recently, Trump tweeted what could be seen as a threat to the Iranian government.

Donald Trump wanted to force the Iranian government to change their economic policy. There are a lot of domestic problems in Iran. The Iranian government is busy expanding their power in the Middle East. The government used to support the Syrian government. The Saudi Arabian government and the West, which supported the Syrian Rebels, attempted to stop Iran from interfering with Syria. The Iranian government worried that the Syrian governmental crisis would affect their political stability. The overuse of the financial budget has influenced economics, causing Iranian people to appeal the government to revolutionize.

Compare the North Korean Nuclear Crisis and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis and we can see Donald Trump's similar strategies. Firstly, Donald Trump has put in a lot of pressure of either country to force them to give up the nuclear plan and improve economics instead. In the North Korean Crisis, last year, Donald Trump called Kim Jong Un "rocket man" and Kim Jong Un condemned him "crazy."

After temporary language confrontation, Kim Jong Un gave and was willing to negotiate with Trump beginning in early 2018. As for Iran, Rouhani also laughed at Trump's policy and criticized Donald Trump's sanction to Iran which was not supported by the European Union. But the latest is that Iran officials are still willing to talk to the U.S. In the trade war with China, Donald Trump also exerted the pressure on China in order to negotiate.

Many people dislike Donald Trump. It is undoubted that Donald Trump's sanction has effectively forced the country to open their economy to a larger degree of freedom. In the Kim-Trump Summit, the U.S. government reportedly played a video that assumed the future of North Korea.

In Iran currently, the inflation is so high that the public wants the economics to be promoted and anti-America sentiment is expected to end. As Donald Trump mentioned, the aim of the sanction is not to overturn the Iranian government, but to let them rethink how to focus on economics rather than on political stability.

Whether the sanction is effective is uncertain. But just like the North Korean nuclear problem, there will also be an answer soon.

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