Becoming Real Men Messerschmidt Analysis

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The piece titled Becoming “Real Men”: Adolescent Masculinity Challenges and Sexual Violence by James W. Messerschmidt is a work published by Westview Press in 2000 and part of a book titled Men and Masculinities. This excerpt is meant to raise awareness on the lack of studies done on gendered adolescent male sex offenders. To do this and to clarify research issues Messerschmidt interviewed two white males, Sam and John, both from working class families in the year of 1997. Sam grew up in a loving family while John grew up in a very hostile and sexual violent family. Messerschmidt wished to compare and contrast the lives of these two teenage sex offenders by analyzing the different ways their masculinity was in peril and understand the offender's …show more content…
So, Sam began to baby sit in order to use the younger girls that he babysat to express his masculine power over them by manipulating and coercing them to perform sexual acts with him. Over the course of two years, he sexually assaulted two girls in order to gain a sense of super masculinity like the popular boys at school that teased him. Next, Messerschmidt told the story of John who grew up with an uninvolved stepfather that only showed John attention in the form of sexual violence along with John’s brother. Johns story proves that Sutherland’s differential association theory is true. The theory states that some people are more inclined to be deviant if they associate themselves with deviant people the most. John is closest to his father despite the bad relationship between them and his father is deviant; therefore, he is more inclined to be deviant in which case we already know that he is a deviant. So, from a very young age, John had learned that sexual violence was normal and it showed affection and male dominance. During this time John also had problems in school as he was repeatedly bullied for being a small kid which resulted in him feeling weak. So, as a teen, he sought to feel power through his masculinity by sexually assaulting a …show more content…
Messerschmidt threw himself into research that was never sought after to get a look at why social institutions drive the behavior of teenage male sex offenders. Messerschmidt himself has a Ph.D. in criminology, is head of the department of criminology at the University of Southern Maine and is a professor that teaches crime classes. From this information, it is clear to see that Messerschmidt has the knowledge and expertise to write about his research project that was based upon sexual violence and masculinity. In order to gather information about the sex offender’s lives, Messerschmidt had to conduct interviews which is a very appropriate method for collecting evidence for this particular research. This is because Messerschmidt needed to know stories, details, and facts about the offender’s lives. After gathering this information that he needed, he was able to provide more support for his claim that teenage male sex offending is a social problem that typically results from a hostile environment such as school or home. Though this piece of literature was created in the year 2000, it is still relevant by showing that adolescent male sex offenders were a social problem and potentially still are. Due to the fact that Messerschmidt gathered stories rather than statistics, I feel as if his findings are still relative to today’s society. I especially feel this way because Messerschmidt wanted to compare and contrast how teen sex offenders grew up in order to see if the

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