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25 Apr

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Feminist? Masculist? o.O

20 Apr

Gender roles play an enormous role in today’s society…more than we may even realize. Masculinity is thought of being related to males, and femininity to females. Men and women are often displayed as being complete opposites of each other, but in reality, men and women are more alike than is realized. Yet we continue to hold people to these gender role standards that make many of us close minded to “different” ways of behaving. Susan Bordo, the author of “Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body”, writes about how a man’s appearance and behavior is what makes him masculine and “manly”. As I was reading this essay, I found myself saying “yeah but” many times. I think that too often, complicated topics are generalized leading to a simple conclusion, that is truly not simple nor accurate. Susan Bordo’s essay separated masculinity and femininity into men and women when in fact everyone has a little bit of both.

Men work, women cook and clean. Men are strong, women are weak. Men are independent, women are dependent. As Susan Bordo states, men act, women appear. Men wear the pants.

Dockers Ad

Um, not exactly.

Now, I am no feminist. Nor am I a …masculist? Made up word? Possibly, but you get my drift. Susan Bordo’s essay supports gender roles through her explanations of how women and homosexual men feel towards men in ads. She mentions that many people are drawn to and enjoy admiring photos of men with toned abs, pecks, nice hair and a nice tight behind.

See? Is this man masculine? His muscles and body imply so, right? Though this is just judging by instinct and his appearance.

The character Charlie Harper from the sitcom Two and a half Men is infamously known on the show for being a womanizer and sleeping with many different women. Though it is just a fictional TV show, it cannot be taken away from Charlie that he does get a lot of pretty girls.

If a girl had to pick between the model in the Gucci ad and the character Charlie, which is most likely that she would pick? Gucci ad man! Charlie does not seem to have pecks and incredible abs. Yet there is something that is attractive about Charlie’s blue bottom down shirts, short khakis, long white socks and brown loafers. It may be that his lack of modern fashion sense shows his confidence in himself and does not need to impress women with his outfits. In Bordo’s essay, she states how people from the brand Dockers believe men should not care about what they look like or what they wear. This “not caring” attitude is what makes them masculine. Charlie fits this belief and is therefore considered masculine.

But then there is Barney from How I Met Your Mother.

Image

Barney wears suits 98% of the time. He talks about the material and texture of his clothing, which he pays a lot for and adores. This can be considered a feminine trait since women are expected to be the ones that obsess over looks and clothing. Men having feminine traits, such as a love for fashion, often leads to the assumption that he is homosexual. However, in this show Barney has hooked up with more 250 women, so clearly he has something that attracts women. Is he masculine? He is still independent and has an “I don’t care” attitude about many things. So yes, he is masculine too.

We are familiar with the fact that the Disney Princesses are feminine. A brave prince charming saves them from their struggles. They wear big gowns in the happily ever after. The men fall head over heels for their beauty. Here is a graphic of these princesses that I found.

These princesses were all created over a two decades ago. Times have certainly changed, but some of the points of view about women that are displayed in these stories are still present today.

If I talk of a person who is athletic, skilled in hunting and has great survival skills, it is likely that you picture a man. However, the fictional character Katniss Evergreen, from the film and book Hunger Games directed by Gale Ross and book written by Suzanne Collins, fits these traits perfectly.

Katniss works hard to save her life and those of her family and she succeeds.  In the book, the Hunger Games that are “played” result is death for most of the participants and Katniss, as any woman would, is at first looked at as an underdog since men are the fighters. The traits that I described are considered manly, right? So Katniss can be called a masculine woman. In the book, she wins the heart of two guys. She decided to participate in the Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, to protect her. This shows her emotional side. Doesn’t this mean that she is feminine as well?

The people who I have talked about are all fictional characters, but they are very realistic. They do not perfectly fit stereotypical gender roles. They each have qualities that are masculine and qualities that are feminine. These roles cause issues within people because they do not act how these gender roles in society say they should act. In 2012, women are more accepted to have masculine qualities and to be in charge than they were before…

..yet there is still the struggle with men. Men can have feminine qualities that are acceptable today, but people are quick to categorize them as homosexual. This may or may not be the case with each individual man, but we do have to find a way to have true equality and accept the feminine and masculine ways of each individual.

Works Cited 

American Idol’s latest guest judge. New York’s Lower Hudson Valley. 26 August 2011. Web. 18 April 2012. < http://remote.lohudblogs.com/2009/08/26/american-idols-latest-guest-judge-neil-patrick-harris/>

Bordo, Susan. “Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body.” Ways of Reading. Egs. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 151-168.

Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper. Fanpop!. Web. 18 April 2012. < http://www.fanpop.com/spots/two-and-a-half-men/images/6432960/title/charlie-sheen-charlie-harper-photo>

Duncan. Dockers Wear The Pants. The Inspiration Room. 12 December 2009. Web. 20 April 2012. <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2009/dockers-wear-the-pants/ >

Exploiting Gender Roles to Get Out of Paying for a Date. Perpertually Single, On Sugar. 18 November 2010. Web. 18 April 2012. < http://perpetuallysingle.onsugar.com/Perpetually-Single-12126199>

Katniss Everdeen: Girl. pop! goes alicia. 28 March 2012. Web. 14 April 2012. <http://popgoesalicia.com/category/love-ya/>

Ozymandias42. Social Just Part Fish: Gender Egalitarianism. 1 December 2012. Web. 12 April 2012. < http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/social-justice-part-fish-gender-egalitarianism/>

Peacock, Joshua. Be a Man!: Unpacking Gender in Politics, Part 2/2. Pculpa. Web. 14 April 2012. <http://pculpa.com/socialism.html?start=8>