The Silent Killer Of Men

The Silent Killer Of Men

No, not prostate cancer, hyper-masculinity.
121
views

“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

Popular Right Now

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.
449448
views

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

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

308
views

Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

Related Content

Facebook Comments