Femininity Vs Masculinity

Improved Essays
As participating members of an extremely defined society, young men have been subjected to unrealistic and stereotypical expectations. Young men are too often left dealing with the problems of manhood. They will ask themselves, what is expected of me? If they of course are given the wrong answer, they will then be deemed stereotypical young men; reckless, immature, ignorant, and oblivious to their surroundings. The alternative, however, is not any better in comparison; the alternative being becoming men. They will then ask themselves, what is expected of me as a man? Society, over the last one hundred years or so, has defined masculinity not with words, but with image; with muscles, with a lack of emotion, with athletics, with jobs that “only …show more content…
In Paul Theroux’ Being a Man, he describes how “it has always been easier for a woman to write and for a man to publish” (569). It is easier for a man to publish because it makes him superior to women. It allows him to make the last decision, to pursue or to scrap; it makes him the dominant sex. Now, if a man is to write, he is then considered feminine and inferior to his own sex. In Gretel Ehlrich’s About Men, she uses cowboys and ranchers to represent America’s ideal image of men. Society considers the typical cowboy to be “someone who loves work” and is built of “physical courage” (Ehlrich, 572). However, he who is “gruff, handsome, and physically fit” tends to be “androgynous” at the same time. These cowboys are “midwives, hunters, nurturers, providers, and conservationists” (Ehlrich, 572). These characteristics do not derive just from masculinity, but from femininity as well. If being a man means being “strong and silent”, but a cowboy, who is considered to be the ideal image of masculinity, has both masculine and feminine characteristics, then society cannot uphold such high expectations for young men. The expectations are completely contradictory to themselves, but because young men tend to stray, they suffer …show more content…
In Paul Theroux’ Being a Man, he explains that he has “always disliked being a man” because he believes that “the whole idea of manhood in America is pitiful” (567). He describes it as “having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one’s entire life” (567). In other words, society’s perception of the ideal man is not a good one, nor are the expectations linked to it. Men are often categorized due to the stereotypes and standards that make up the image of the ideal man; someone who must “be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, soldierly, and stop thinking” (Theroux, 568). Rebecca Walker introduces the idea of using guilt as a means of making young men conform; by telling him that “who he is authentically is not enough… that he will not be loved unless he abandons his own desires and picks up a tool of competition… that to really be of value he must stand ready to compete, dominate, and if necessary, kill” (575). By conforming to what society expects them to be, young men can then be deemed acceptable. The irony behind this is that society desires for men to be kind hearted and gentlemanly. It is unreasonable to expect such ridiculous characteristics while simultaneously desiring the complete opposite. This forces young men to ask themselves who they should and shouldn’t be, in order to be considered acceptable by society’s

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