Masculinity And Gender Inequality

949 Words 4 Pages
A pressing issue regarding gender expression in America is how many Americans remain dogmatic towards the relation between gender and sex. Despite masculinity and femininity being forms of self-expression, any spectrum that offers any fluidity is all but neglected. In the case of masculinity, there are preferences placed on men, such as being physically strong, tall, heterosexual, cisgender, dominant, and so on. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, writer and feminist advocate, touched on this in her TED Talk, “We Should All Be Feminist,” saying, “We define masculinity in a very narrow way, masculinity becomes this hard, small cage, and we put boys inside the cage” (“We Should All Be Feminists”). This narrow definition of masculinity offers zero tolerance …show more content…
The United States is heavily dependent on technology due to the accessibility of certain mediums, such as films and news outlets, and the means of being exposed to the media. In the documentary The Mask You Live In, Dr. Caroline Heldman speaks on the portrayal of masculinity within pop culture: “The predominant male archetypes…are strong silent guys who are always in control and never emotional” (The Mask You Live In). The idea of masculinity has been personified, taking the complexities of an individual and simplifying them to a mere caricature. The accessibility of societal standards of masculinity allows it to be marketed and idolized. This perpetuating image is constantly exposed to the public, so when gay men look at this ideal representation of what a man should be, they begin to pick apart their own traits and weigh the differences. The main differences—such as being gay—will weigh more due to sexuality being one of the key expectations of being masculine, and this idea of being secondary becomes internalized by gay men. American society conditions the people to understand that these ideas are expected, so any form of deviation could have some form of …show more content…
Because there is a heavy presentation of the expectations for men, masculinity initially reacts and demeans these differences. In the same documentary, Dr. Terry Kupers says that this intolerance is the origin of certain types of oppression, saying, “In sexism, [the idea] is that a girl isn’t as strong as a boy. With homosexuality, the gay men becomes the most stigmatized version of weakness…” (The Mask You Live In). There is oppression because there are differences that are played up to be more significant than they actually are. In homophobia, people put labels and stereotypes on queer people with the intention of inflicting harm. For example, gay men are often labeled as camp, which is synonymous with being feminine, thus giving reason to ostracize gay men even more due to the nature of masculinity. However, while these hurtful claims are often made by outside forced—i.e. straight and cisgender people—the effects of defying masculine conventions damage the community from the inside as

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