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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Need Strength?

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Scriptures:

Philippians 4:13

Isaiah 40:29

Psalm 119:28

Ephesians 6:10

Isaiah 40:31

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Psalm 46:1

Psalm 22:19

Psalm 28:7-8

Psalm 118:14

Isaiah 12:2

Isaiah 33:2

Isaiah 40:29-30

Isaiah 41:10

Exodus 15:2

Psalm 18:32-34

Prayer:

Lord, I'm weary. My energy is sagging, and my motivation is lagging. I am so in need of you. I need your strength and fresh touch to get back on track again. Your word says the joy of the Lord is my strength. I need your joy to replace all the bone-tired parts of my mind, body, and soul. The pressures of life sometimes corner me. Lord help me not to quit and to keep running towards you faithfully. Renew my strength, Lord. Fill me with your power and keep my eyes on you.

-Amen

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Marco Rubio, Do Your Fucking Job And Stop Letting Kids Get Slaughtered

Marco Rubio basically got a standing O for showing up to a test he bombed, because that's where America is right now, I guess.
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It has been a week and a half since the Parkland Shooting, five months since Las Vegas, a year and a half since Pulse, six years since Sandy Hook and almost nineteen years since Columbine. Yet we are still no closer to effective gun control.

Nineteen-year-olds affiliated with white supremacist groups are still able to buy AR-15s without a single red flag going up. Children are still dying in mass shootings. Politicians are still being bought out by the NRA and refusing to take preventative measures.

Marco Rubio, you have been a representative for Florida since 2000 and have done very little to prevent the Parkland shooting.

In fact, you have a history of trying to loosen gun laws, ultimately. Most notably, you voted against a bill that would prevent people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns less than a month after Pulse. You opted instead for a policy that would require a measly three-day waiting period.

You continually claim stricter gun laws will do nothing to protect us from mass shootings (even though they work in every country that has them), but you've barely even tried (tweets don’t count, just by the way). In fact, you've rejected a number of bills aimed at making it harder for people to get guns used in these mass shootings (usually based on party lines). And your constituency is over it.

You also claim that shootings like Parkland are the cause of mental illness.

However, not only have you done nothing pilot efforts for getting accessible comprehensive mental health care but, according to Orlando Weekly, you also voted AGAINST a bill that would prevent people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns.

I guess this is just what happens when you receive $3.3 million from the NRA, according to the New York Times. Or maybe it's because you're too scared of losing Republican support. It doesn’t matter to me either way; I'm just sick of your shit.

This isn't good enough anymore.

Not for me, not for students in Florida schools, and not for the victims and their families. Your thoughts and prayers are doing jack shit. We want action. We want a policy change. We want you to do your fucking job.

So here is my proposition: if you propose a bill that will actually do something to stop mass shootings, you might just get to keep your job for another six years. And I mean a real policy suggestion. I don’t care if it's imposing age restrictions, ID laws, or even mental health care.

All I'm asking is that you stop with the passive responses to tragedy or dodging criticism with NRA sponsored answers and protect us and our children and our families from totally preventable mass shootings.

All I'm asking is that you do your fucking job.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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