Modern Masculinity Essay

1102 words - 4 pages

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a big hit in the early 1980’s. There was action figures, cartoons, and comic books focusing on a blonde haired, muscled man who carried a magic blade known as the “Sword of Power.” This sword would turn him into the most powerful man in the universe when he held it aloft and called upon the power of Greyskull. Once he was transformed to He-Man, he battled Skeletor, his mortal enemy, to keep the power of Castle Greyskull out of Skeletor’s evil clutches. In the 25 years since American children first watched Masters of the Universe, the idea of what makes a masculine man has changed little. In Germaine Greer’s “Masculinity” she explores the concept that cultural construct is responsible for learned behaviors in males. In American society many outlets have contributed to shaping its males into masculine men. Three of these outlets are television, video games, and hip hop.
Television plays the most influential role in shaping American men. This is largely due to the fact that almost all households have at least one, and in most cases, multiple televisions. There are many channels that are directed largely towards the male audience. For instance, sports channels showcase well-defined men in physical competition. Greer points out, “he is encouraged to take part in team sports, to get used to rough and tumble…” (896). Contact sports are considered to be the ultimate test of manhood, with the final score a standard by which masculinity can be measured. Another network directed towards men is the outdoors channel. It is solely dedicated to men hunting and fishing. These activities go back to the beginning of civilization when men were responsible for providing food for their families without the aid of a grocery store. The reason men enjoy these activities so much is because they speak to the primitive beast inside the masculine man from the days of “eat or be eaten.” Another channel is the military channel which features tales of heroic soldiers in military training and battles. Soldiers represent the ultimate male to many Americans. “The myth that feeds masculinity is that every boy should become a strong and resolute warrior capable of defending…” (Greer, 898). Of course any soldier that fights for his country is heroic, but a civilian can be heroic as well. Televisions have so much influence on American men due to the sheer number of TVs and the availability of programming.
American video games, which are exceedingly popular, also encourage masculinity. The two top selling genres for American games are shooters and sports. Examples of shooter games are Call of Duty, Gears of War, Battlefield, Medal Gear Solid, and Halo. The main goal of a shooter game is to kill the opponent. As Greer comments, “the unstated inference that any man who is not good at “killing in war” is less of a man” (898). American men’s favorite video game characters tend to be more masculine. For instance,...

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