By Sophie Furman
My family consists of five females and one male; my father is quite outnumbered by his four daughters and wife. My ideas on gender from an early age relied just on how I was raised and how I saw the only prominent male in my day-to-day life behave. After reading “Guyland”, “Boy + Men In Families” and “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events” I see ideas that I have seen throughout my life but also concepts that are completely new to me.
Growing up my parents raised my sisters and I to be well rounded people. They did not just view it as raising four girls that had to grow up to be the ideal woman. Instead, their main concern was that we were around good people no matter what stereotypical gender mold they could fit in to. “Passive” “weak” and
“powerless” were not words used in my household or words used to describe any of the females in my house. However, there were inevitably things I viewed as male and female because of watching the differences between my mom and dad. The two most prominent ones I remember were driving and drinking. Whenever my whole family got into a car, my dad was the driver. I thought my mom and others only drove when their husbands weren’t in the car. One day, in a car with my friends family, her mom got into the drivers seat and not her father which surprised me. Because I was so used to seeing a different division of responsibility, to this day I still have to second glance when I see a female driving a male around.
My father was the only one drinking beer in our household and I thought that was because he was a dad and it was what dads could do while watching sports games. I thought my mom didn’t drink beer because there were no sports games for her to sit and watch. Little did I know at that young age that it was just my mom that didn’t like to drink beer, but many other moms did. As a result of what I’ve seen growing up though, to this day I still see beer as a “manly” drink. In “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events,” its interesting how beer is portrayed almost as a safety blanket. When in a social situation with your friends it’s much more easier to be confident in your own skin because you have your beer that reminds you that you’re a part of the crowd. The idea that men have to have this drink in their hands in order to feel this way (according to these ads) is disappointing.
In Kimmels, “Guyland” he mentions the idea that no one can tell a woman what it means to be a woman anymore, but the question of what it means to be a man is still very powerful. As a society we teach young boys to hide all different forms of emotion, to be a man is to “not cry,” “never give up,” “be strong” etc. Cover your true emotions with a veil to society is the ultimate desire we’ve created for men according to the society structure we’ve created. There are consequences with that disclosure from expressing yourself. According to the research done in “Boys + Men in Families,” from a very young age boys are much more likely to be sent to psychiatrist than girls and twice as likely to have emotional issues. I’d like to think that if my parents raised a boy they would raise him with the same love and understanding that my sisters and I were raised on. One without limits and control, to form the type of person a family would love and not the type of person society thinks they need.