Gender Expression Essay

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…
Going back to the term camp, it directly coincides to the stigmatization of femininity due to how masculinity sees anything other as wrong. In the non-fictional book, This Book is Gay, author James Dawson discussions the connotation with camp, stating that it is “more often than not an insult… by gay men themselves” (Dawson 56). Despite being part of a community that is oppressed, some gay men combat others with similar ideologies as straight men. This is the primary effect of society’s representation of masculinity: the fear of fitting into stereotypes and disassociating from those who do. In an effort to perpetuate masculinity, many gay men compensate by giving in to other expectations of masculinity, such as obtaining the perfect body. Dawson also touches upon this issue, saying, “…gay guys may develop an internal loathing for all things female and gay, thus striving for the most masculine appearance possible” (Dawson 56). These problematic expectations have forced some gay men to act out on their internalized homophobia. Due to the pressure on men to fit into strict gender roles, gay men suffer as a consequence by policing their lives to eliminate factors that could lead to being

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