Masculinities is not of objective knowledge. It is a historical function as part gender order and roles; masculinity is set apart from femininities and dominant masculinities from subordinate masculinities. These relations mean that womens social existence is affected by the place of men in the society. Concepts of masculinity are used in society to create a guideline for ideal men. However, this set of attributes has been more detrimental to the population of men as a whole. The notion of masculinity is overrun with harmful stereotypes that perpetuate a toxic patriarchal society. These expectations are reinforced through the media and the language society uses. Dismantling the toxic definition of masculinity society has and replacing it with one that is more fluid would benefit men psychologically, emotionally, and socially. This is attainable through less toxic masculinity stereotypes in the media, using dialogue as a way to allow individuals to find their definition of masculine, and putting in the effort not to perpetuate these harmful stereotypes in our day-to-day.
Early research masculinities aimed to understand that the construction of masculinity contains a political dynamic, a dynamic of power, by which the other is created and subordinated (Robinson 52). Therefore cultural masculinity norms meet the criteria of a social problem because it is a structural function, it causes social conflict as we are going to discuss in this paper, stirs feminism and symbolic interaction. Societys definition of masculinity is a concept that defines what manhood is and how men should view themselves. Radically, the cultural norms of what masculinity are violence, egotism, and invulnerability. With such, compromise, mediation and dialogue are viewed as modalities of weakness for a man (" Hes More Typically Female Because Hes Not Afraid to Cry: Connecting Heterosexual Gender Relations and Mens Depression - The Psychology of Gender and Health - Chapter 6")
The societal hierarchy for boys especially in high schools has been encouraged by rewarding of dominance, physical strength, defiance, and aggressiveness. The learning institutions continue to re-enforce masculinity as they emphasize on sports more than education. Susceptibility, modesty, cordial communication and mediation are thought to be feminine behavior. The society and learning institutions unconsciously promote the division of the hierarchical placements by allowing bullying to slide because it holds to the mentality that boys will always tease each other (Nelson).
Another way the school environment ingrains the concept of masculinity is through the literature students read. The males are often portrayed as violent, confrontational, and competitive, while girls are more likely to be loving, communicative, and submissive. Hence the stereotype of the masculinity becomes deep-rooted and widely accepted in the society (Forde and Duvvury). The stereotype of masculinity is often overlooked, and its impacts on psychological and social develop rarely acknowledged. This system of cultural capital causes cyclical violence, and long-term harm as victims of the system are forced into adopting violent ideologies of masculinity to seek acceptance. Both the bullies and victims report higher levels of depression and correlate with holding attitudes that promote violence as the primary method of conflict resolution.
This dichotomy of what is masculinity and what it is not put too much pressure on the boy child to conform to the standards of the society because they do not define manhood for themselves but what they observe from their environments.
The placement in the hierarchy is based on social behavior, prowess in athletics, detachment from femininity and homosexuality and social- economic status. The set standards of masculinity suppress the genuine emotions in both boys and men since they are afraid of emasculation. Failing in the scale of masculinity is considered immaturity and deficient of intellectual- emotional skills (Heathcote). Therefore, boys that fall bottom of the hierarchy are often emasculated by those on top by constant psychological and physical bullying to affirm their positions. To have ones manhood questioned in the modern society is dehumanizing because it acts a measure of human value and worth. Therefore, the boys search for recognition in a way that masculine reactions are the only way to fit in and cope with emotions. The lack of an outlet to relieve the harassment on these boys leads to extreme cases of bullets and fists.
Social standards and stereotypes have allowed the aggressive behavior to continue. In some cases, boys conform to queer behaviors such as drug abuse to prove their masculinity among their peers. In the long run, fall into depression or addiction which now becomes a whole other new problem. Violence in the U.S schools receives a lot of academic and media attention because its rampant. Such events show a complete disregard for human dignity and life. While shootings and killings are easy to tackle and see results because of the political support, they are a rare occurrence, and its a social problem. Young boys and men are the main perpetrators of school violence and criminal activity.
The social construct of heterosexuality invalidates womens existence for themselves, and they are only gratified for their ability to reproduce and pleasure men. A pragmatic study shows that the relation of masculinity to femininity and subordinate males cause anxiety and drives men to sexual violence. The concept of normalizing male supremacy and superiority has also led to the increase of sexual and physical violence against women as they view violence as an affirmation of masculinity. The behavior is encouraged by the wider scope of acceptance of gender inequality (Sharma and Das).
However, these activities, particularly those that appear small (bullying), can be extremely detrimental to the development of a child, school, and home environment. Change of societal norms of masculinity would by far aid healthy development of the male child and improve safety within the school and the society. The society should be responsible for the expectations of a male child that lead to rampant violence, drug use, and violence. It is a global problem, and the society needs to redefine masculinity or get rid of gender constructs.
Male supremacy is easier to attend to in small groups of people. Therefore, the problem should be dealt with locally due to the inherent human nature to challenge and resist change especially when it places them at a disadvantage.
Although we cannot eliminate masculinity supremacy threshold, we could at least reduce the severity of violence for both females and subordinate masculinity. We could also lessen the pain of boyhood and adolescence by avenues and platforms creating could nature the boy behavior from the age of kindergarten to grow up knowing it is ok to be vulnerable, polite, affectionate, metrosexual, expressive and passive(Fleming, et al.) .
With proper funding, support and resources the cultural masculinity constructs could be changed. The ideal solution to solving the issue is to cultivate a new culture that is liberated from the sleeves of whats considered feminine or masculine. The current gender stereotypes were cultivated in the 19th century after the industrialization. This is because; the new economies pushed the man in the household to go outside the home to earn money while the woman remained the home manager. Before this, both men and women worked on the farms. Out there, men were pushed by circumstances to seek success and status, be daring, self-reliant and aggressive with an aura of confidence. Meanwhile, the women remained pure, domestic, submissive and religious, praying for their husbands safety (Johnson). However, times have changed, and the society needs to changes its beliefs because it is no longer filtered in the structure of power, division of labor and social organization of sexuality and attraction.
I would form mentorship program called the Initiative for Change that would be an umbrella of different campaigns designed to eliminate the cultural masculinity norms. Like the Man up is a magazine that looks into sexual health of a man, a new book would be designed for school going children in both public. It would aim at educating the children on fairness and importance of equality. The book would be a free mentorship program would be designed to address key issues that relate to male or female dominance. It would be important to have such a book in the educational institutions to counter the sexism literature in some of the curriculum textbooks that construct masculinity. The topic to be addressed in a certain issue would be discussed by a panel of different representations to ensure equality and objectivity. Once the topic is discussed and settled on, the book will be written by a certified author and edited by a panel of three people a male, female and a professional psychologist. The design of the book would be such that it allows a student to write to a secret mentor for guidance concerning the monthly issue or any other pressing matter that they are not comfortable asking at home or school. The idea behind the private letters would be to eliminate the probability of a child being ridiculed or ashamed for asking what may be perceived by others silly or irrelevant. The students would then get immediate replies from the mentors and have the books sent back to them for future reference.
The mentorship program would also seek to give empowering talks to students in school. The program would seek to recruit important male and female figures in the society that would address the students on social issues and more so, pertaining gender equality, cohesiveness and drug use. The program would also create an interactive platform, for instance, carnivals and boot camps whose agenda would be to eliminate the divide of masculinity threshold and create a common ground of humanity where solutions can be unveiled together. These boot camps would be organized during the winter, summer and spring school breaks to avoid the disruption of the school curriculum. They would be designed in a structure that is fairly involving and awarding to students that take the program seriously and are on good behavior.
The last campaign under the Initiative for Change program would involve men in the fight against violence on women and bullying of the subordinate masculinity. Mens violence against these two groups of people is fundamentally collective and structural. Therefore, to stop the physical and psychological bullying and abuse, it would be wise to address the collective and structural conditions that foster violence at personal and societal level. Violence in masculinity is viewed as a political function of the subordinate, and its higher in societies that emphasize on male supremacy and toughness and is often viewed as the proper dominant-submissive relationship (Robinson). To scrap off violence and its detrimental that we develop a systematic, large-scale and coordinated effort; therefore, the program would bring in womens and mens networks and organization both regionally and globally. These networks would push for policies and agendas that protect women and males that rank bottom in the hierarchy of masculinity from violence. The program would also push for women to get into positions that are male-dominated to ensure fairness and equality. Gender equality is important in institutions, especially in the powerful positions to prevent sexual harassment. A phenomenal that lingers in mind is the one that was currently exposed by Hollywood actresses, speaking of how they are violated by powerful producers to get acting jobs. The initiative Times up! has been a global sh...
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