Mascuilinity's Unintended Consequences on Heterosexual Men Essay

Submitted By paublo61687
Words: 1278
Pages: 6

Masculinity and Its Unintended Impact on Heterosexual Males

An old adage simply states "to whom much is given, much is required...". These words appear simple enough, yet they imply a heavy burden of responsibility upon whomever is blessed enough to thrive within the privileged end of the social spectrum. Such is the dynamic that white males find themselves in, especially upper class, heterosexual, able bodied young males; evoking a yoke of shame upon their shoulders and much confusion and subsequently, dire consequences for society as a whole. Strict heterosexual and genderized norms enforced by social structures have created monumental ramifications for heterosexual men, where they now find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place in their efforts to adhere to the neo-social conventions that have redefined the constructs of what it means to be masculine. The social landscape has thus become hostile such that the notions of masculinity and femininity have become diametrically opposed – with neither one able to reconcile without earning stereotypical labels of being either weak or gay. This social gauge and overt demand for a strict notion of masculinity has become so convoluted resulting in heinous unintended consequences that have rendered the typical male somewhat an aberrant or social bogey. From this one may conclude that the very idea of being masculine now demands that heterosexual males put on masks or contrived personas in order to satisfy the new social code. This can also be seen in other cultures that privilege or elevate men in general. A great case in point is the notion of "machismo" in Latin cultures. Merriam Webster’s definition of machismo makes a clear case for my argument that heterosexual males are now caught between a rock and a hard place, forcing them to exert an, “ Exaggerated pride in masculinity, perceived as power, and often coupled with [a] minimal sense of responsibility and disregard for consequences" (www.marriam-webster.com). This of course creates a conundrum where the typical heterosexuals end up denigrating and abusing anything feminine and in between due to their perceived weakness and dependency on the alpha male. Here power becomes both a weapon and a tool that inadvertently reinforces and emphasizes the very strict heterosexual and genderized norms that have made "white" men the social bogeys that they are. Judith Lorber proffers an interesting insight on this juxtaposing ideas of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. She describes how she sees two men in New York, one carrying his child in a carrier on his chest and the other with a stroller. Stating, “both men were quite obviously stared at-and smiled at, approvingly… the men who were changing the role of fathers ... [when] other passengers, ... applauding them silently” (p. 321). Yet upon further observation, Lorber notices that one could not tell the sex of the first child because of their gender-neutral clothing. The second child was in a dark blue T-shirt and pants, and had a Yankee baseball cap. She assumed the child was a boy until she noticed a gleam from her ears. What Lorber describes provides much insight into the notion of societal expectations of typical heterosexual males. Here the very idea of what typical male behavior, attire, and familial roles are, come under microscopic scrutiny. A wrench is also thrown into the mix where some have chosen the path of an obscured version of defiance - hence Lorber's observation of the female child dressed in typically male clothes with just a hint of femininity and the male child dressed in gender neutral clothing. While it has socially and culturally acceptable for men play a more direct role in parenting, strict genderized norms persist. This can be seen in men's efforts to reduce the feminine aspect within their children, albeit reinforcing and emphasizing their masculinity through this simple act lest society begins to question if they are either whipped,…