Masculinity Essay

1032 Words Nov 23rd, 2011 5 Pages
Masculinity A cowboy, the strong and silent “man’s man” is the iconic figure of masculinity. The same cowboy also has a certain fragileness. The perception of a man usually does not reveal the fragile side. However, Gretel Ehrlich reveals this underlying soft side of cowboys in About Men (1985), and Paul Theroux explains in Being a Man (1985) that the idea of manhood is pitiful because there is a fragile side to every man. Ehrlich talks about the rugged lifestyle of a cowboy. He paints this picture of a man who loves what he does. The long days of work with little payoff, the courage of acting spontaneously in the field, and the physical punishment is often underplayed. Most movies containing a cowboy role show a bold individual who …show more content…
Paul Theroux looks at how the image of a man is set forth and at the same time emotionally damaging. Theroux disliked being a man. He wanted to expose his softer side and be a writer, but for years he found it impossible to admit. Men just weren’t writers. This concept of being a man starts at an early age. Theroux explains that instead of meeting girls, boys are encouraged to take up sports, join Boy Scouts, and not read so much (293). He saw sports as wasteful and humiliating. But writing wasn’t manly or even considered a profession. “All the bullfighting and arm wrestling and elephant shooting diminished Hemingway as a writer, but it is consistent with a prevailing attitude in American writing: one cannot be a male writer without first proving that one is a man” (Theroux 293). He points out a few male writers also at odds with the manliness battle. “The male writer is traditionally proud of his heavy drinking. He says he can drink you under the table. But even tiny drunken William Faulkner loved to mount a horse and go fox hunting, and Jack Kerouac roistered up and down Manhattan in a lumberjack shirt (and spent every night of The Subterraneans with his mother in Queens)” (Theroux 293). “Being a man is bad enough; being manly is appalling” (Theroux 293). The image of masculinity doesn’t allow for the softer, more feminine side to come into play, but every ‘man’ has it.
The Scottish Daily Record recently published an

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