Adams, Coltrane, and Kimmel. By Sarah Wills

The article, Boys and Men in Families, offers very interesting insights about the male role in families. Adams and Coltrane describe the different gender roles as “separate spheres”. They discuss how even before children are born, they are already being forced into gender norms. For example, if an expecting couple were to find out the sex of their baby, they will begin buying the appropriate clothing for the sex of their baby before its born. Even when a newborn leaves the hospital, it is adorned in the gender appropriate apparel. One interesting point that Adams and Coltrane make is that the male gender is more fragile than the female gender, and that men are forced in the “mantle od masculinity”. Inherently, we see women as the more “fragile” gender. However, according to these authors, the male gender model is more fragile than the female gender. This is because there are greater consequences for not fulfilling the male gender appropriately. This point was very interesting to me because I had never thought about the pressures that men feel to maintain their masculine identity. This shows how society is more accepting of the male identity than the female identity. If a female did not follow through with her gender norms appropriately, she is not as penalized as a male would be. Another interesting point that Adams and Coltrane discuss is the role of marriage. This article points out how marriage is geared towards men. Men have less marital dissatisfaction and lower rates of mental disorder than women. Could this be because marriage is more rewarding for men? As this article states, the male role is fairly straightforward. They go out and work and earn a salary compensation for their time. However, the female role is not as simple. It has been shown that women preform more housework than men, yet these tasks often go uncompensated and unappreciated. Therefore, this could relate to the unequal marital satisfaction between men and women.

In Kimmel’s article, Bros Before Hoes, he discusses the pressures that “guys” must face in order to maintain their manhood. One interesting point that the author makes is that it is very easy for guys to point out what makes them a man. Some of these defining phrases include “boy don’t cry”, “It’s better to be mad than sad”, and “take it like a man”. These characteristics are supposedly the “code” that real men should live by. When women were asked the same question, they refused to define what it means to be a woman. Additionally, men have a set list of insulting terms such as “faggot”, “pussy” and “wuss”. Every single insult that guys use to insult each other is an attack on their masculinity. When I was reading the section about how fathers try to parent their sons into being men it reminded me of a family I used to babysit for in high school. This family was comprised of 2 older sons, and a younger daughter. The daughter had a pink fluffy hat that she never wore. So, the middle-aged son wanted it and began wearing it constantly. He would wear it everywhere outside of the house and in the house. Eventually, the father got so upset by this that he would bribe his son into not wearing the hat. If he went the whole day without wearing the hat, he got an extra dessert before going to bed. Eventually, the boy dropped the hat gig and the father reclaimed his son’s masculinity. But it was so obvious that the father was uncomfortable with this situation and felt that it was his duty to stop his son’s pink hat desire. Overall, these two articles really highlighted how detrimental it is for men to maintain their masculine identity or else their manhood and sexuality will be questioned. Men face a lot of pressure in order to be real men.

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4 thoughts on “Adams, Coltrane, and Kimmel. By Sarah Wills

  1. Luis Ramos:

    Reading Kimmels’ article, “Bros Before Hoes,” immediately let me to search up a video I had encountered a few months ago across my Facebook feeds. It basically conveys the same message that’s generated in the reading. “Be a man” tends to be the three most destructive words that EVERY man has received when he’s a boy. This constructed idea and definition of masculinity imposes boys to “stop crying,” “pick [themselves] up,” “stop being a pussy,” or even to “be cool and be kind of a dick,” among many other characteristics. I’ve been told to “be a man” by friends and even by my own father. At that time, I didn’t quite understand why they were uttering it to me. I mean, what exactly was preventing me from being a man? There’s no strict rules to how a “man” should act, therefore, why are we commanding young boys to do these things to embody their masculinity.

    I encourage everyone to take a glance at the video. It’s worth watching, trust me.

    http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men

  2. Carly Ozarowski

    Much like your experience with the family you babysat for I encountered a few families with very similar socially constructed ideals for their sons. I used to figure skate and also coached figure skating. In our beginning classes, no matter the gender, everyone was told to wear figure skates because it is easier to first learn on figure skates with toe pick and then transition to hockey skates. I cannot count the number of times I had very nicely had to explain this to parents (mostly fathers) who very strongly disagreed with me and believed that figure skates were for girls and not for boys, or at least not for their son. As we see in Kimmel’s, masculinity can be defined as “relentless repudiation of the feminine” (45). In the example I gave earlier (like yours), this is shown by the father doing this for their son because their son is not old enough and has not been socialized enough to feel the need to question their actions.

  3. Sarah’s example of the father-son conflict is one that we see all too often. It seems like every show on tv has an episode devoted to an instance similar to this one. Why is this? As Kimmel discusses, society, especially boys and men, are so focused on being manly and rejecting everything feninine, such as a pink fluffy hat. Not only is this sending the message that girls and women are inferior, even bad, it is also limiting boys to a life of suppression.

  4. In Guyland, I couldn’t help but think of the NFL and especially the story of harassment between the two offensive linemen for the Miami Dolphins Richie Incognito and Johnathan Martin. While it’s is unclear exactly what took place the essential part is that Incognito had been bullying Martin through text messages and in the locker room. When Martin approached the general manager of the team he apparently told him to punch Incognito and fight it out with him. Eventually Martin left the team because he said he couldn’t handle the culture of the NFL locker room. This story shows an issue present in more than one locker room throughout the league and shows the extent of guy culture in so many places. Just one active male athlete in the four major professional sports in this country, hockey, basketball, baseball, and football, has come out as gay and that is likely due to the fear of other players reactions to this type of announcement. It seems that we are headed in a better direction of a more accepting community even in sports but the guy code is still pervasive throughout professional sports leagues.

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