Male Acceptance, Transgressing Gender, and Women’s Roles in Society
Are men really always in power like everyone assumes or are there hidden situations that men take the back seat in? In recent years, the role of men has changed a lot. Women have earned more power, especially in areas that men take seriously. Men may be in higher positions in politics and jobs related or similar to that but women have important power also. Lately, some men have been changing things about themselves just to impress and win over women. Although some men may have been doing that, most men were doing it for other men. While people notice that women care about their appearances, it mostly goes unnoticed that the majority of men care just as much as women, if not more. Most people don’t notice it because it is more acceptable in society to want to make yourself look better, no matter who you’re doing it for.
In a passage taken from Michael Kimmel’s article “Manhood in America” he addresses these issues head on. Kimmel discusses how men had to prove they were still masculine. Kimmel states, “While one might think that men undergo this painful procedure to become “better” lovers or to please women more, the primary motivation is that men suffer from what one physician called “locker room syndrome” – the fear of being judged as inadequately masculine by other men” (274). This means that men are becoming more physically fit and caring about their physical appearances so that other men don’t think less of them. Kimmel says that some men have gone through plastic surgery, used male enhancements, and other ridiculous things just to impress men. Boys form “homosocial” bonds, which means that they just want to be accepted by other boys. In order to be respected by other males, they need to do certain things. In my understanding, men are constantly competing with each other, whether it obvious and known or not. An example of this is in a fraternity the boys haze each other. In order to gain membership into the fraternity they need to complete certain tasks and challenges. In some situations, the challenges are so drastic that they are illegal. This argument supports my thesis completely because these men are just trying to fit in with the other men.
Another topic that Michael Kimmel discusses in his article is how females have the power over sex. A common quote that supports this is that “women decide when they have sex”. As I stated earlier, women have important power also and this is what I was referring to. Kimmel states that men just want to have sex with as many women as possible and are much more promiscuous while women want to find love and refuse to have sex with just anyone. In studies of movies, such as American pie, sex is an important thing in a boys life, but getting a girl to do it is hard. In order for men to get what they want, sex, they need to give the women what they want. One way of achieving that is to look better and take care of themselves.