Gender refers to the systematic social principle that normally categorizes people as being either men or women. Masculinity refers to the set behaviors, roles, and attributes that the male gender tends to be associated with both the men and boys. Some of the traditional traits that masculinity was associated with include independence, violence, assertiveness, and courage. The concept of masculinity tends to vary from one culture to another. In most cultures, the display of characteristics which are not typical concerning the gender of an individual can be considered to be a social problem. Constraining various aspects of masculinity does not only affect the men but the women as well. In most of the societies across the world, the men tend to have more institutional and social privileges as compared to the women, and that also have an impact on their health. This is regarded as the cost of being masculine. Gender norms refer to the male and female qualities which develop as a result of socialization and are not biological.
In the United States practically almost every black male has been forced to hold back the self that he desires at least once in his lifetime. This has been contributed due to the fear of being slaughtered, destroyed or attacked. The black men have no real say in the manner that they are represented. They are seen as natural born rapists, murderers, animals and brutes. Men tend to be victimized through use of stereotypes that were articulated in the nineteenth century. Male stereotyping have had a significant influence on the issue of gender inequality. Certain masculinities tend to promote the inequality that exists between the women and men.
Masculinity has been linked with violence, sexual behaviors that are risky and sexual intimate partner violence against women several times. Such behaviors tend to affect the health of women, men and children negatively. The violence exhibited by men tend to be inextricably linked to toxic and hegemonic masculinity whether directed at women, other men or people with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. Violence against the women by men is caused by the manner in which the society has taught them to view the women and the various ways that people learn to behave. The toxic definition of masculinity in the society can be reduced through reduced stereotyping in the media, putting more effort to reduce the harmful stereotypes and use of dialogue as a means of allowing individuals to get their definition of masculine.
Masculinity has been associated with different forms of violence. Whether the violence is directed at people who have different sexual orientations, gender identities, women or even other men, the violence is usually linked with the hegemonic and toxic type of masculinity. The manner in which the men behave is greatly influenced by gender norms that are socially constructed and not by traits which are biologically inherent. The deviation from behaviors that are not considered to be masculine results in violence against heterosexual and as well as gay men as they are viewed as not conforming to the social definition of being a male. Men who do not conform and behave according to the expected manhood behaviors in the society may end up being stigmatized, victimized or considered to be of lower social status.
Gender inequality can be greatly associated with the behavior of men violating the women. There is a very close connection that exists between power and violence. In most regions of the world, men tend to dominate different positions related to economic, political and social power. Men have different levels of power, and hence some men feel less powerful regarding their political, social as well as their wealth status. Despite several women nowadays holding leadership positions in different organizations people still believe that it is a masculine role and hence the woman is expected to act like a man. Due to such reason, the women holding such positions can easily be harassed and abused by men in an attempt of reinforcing their control and power. For instance, rape cases and other forms of violence against women have been seen as the excessive use of power by the male gender over the female gender. Some men tend to benefit when their fellow men violate the women. Most men tend to violate the women because they believe in the phenomenon of gender inequality. The main reason as to why men tend to have control over their partners and wives is because they believe that they should be in possession of authority and status. Women are forced to have sex with the men because they believe that it is their right to access the body of the women. Due to gender inequality, the women are viewed as being dishonest and men as forceful, strong and dominant. Inequality of roles within the family mainly causes most of the domestic violence issues. Family violence can be caused by the development of dominant-submissive power relations (Johnson).
Men are stereotyped with the ideology of male superiority and supremacy. Sexism is a factor that makes men use violence towards their intimate partners. According to research societies that culturally define manhood regarding their toughness, dominance, honoring of men and rigid gender roles tend to experience a high rate of cases of men violating their women. For example, some societies have taught the men the women should be used as sexual objects and hence the problem of sexual harassment and violence. Such social norms make the issue of sexual violence to appear as being normal. Prolonged gender inequality results in coercive control against the women (GJSS). A man is in a better position of controlling the women since they view them as house helps and can exploit most of their roles since while at home the woman does most of the house chores which is unpaid. This is possible since the woman has been socialized in a way that she should feel responsible for the sexual interests and emotional wellbeing of the man. Men can form a group with the aim of violating the women. For example, a group of men can join forces to kidnap several women and later they sexually harass them or even beat them up.
Impact of Gender Violence
The violent of men against the women does not only affect a single woman, but a group of women tends to be affected. The violence affects the mobility of a woman since they have a fear of being raped, sexually harassed or even kidnapped. The self-esteem level a woman who has been violated by her partner is lowered. Sexual violence is another form of social control on the females since it limits their freedom to movement, safety, and autonomy, being equally paid to the men and rendered voiceless in the making of political decisions (Worell).
The sexual harassment of the women can result in the increased spread of diseases such as HIV and STI's. Some of these diseases can easily result in the death of a person which affects both the men and the women. In instances of rape the unborn child is also affected as it can easily cause the woman to experience a miscarriage.
Strategies of Dealing With Violence Against Women by Men
To help various gender-based violence, various interventions should be undertaken. The media can help reduce the male stereotyping through use of the media campaigns. For example, the media campaign Man Up Monday was awarded the first prize by the Health Promotion Section of the American Public Health Association. The media came up with a creative print that was used in southeastern Virginia that helped increase the percentage of the men that got tested for sexually transmitted infections. This campaign helped reduce the health stereotyping that is associated with the men as it documented the favorable conditions of Mondays encouraging the change of behavior. The campaign also aimed at requesting the men to man up to reveal the right masculine ideals which include strong-willed and courage. The Man Up Monday advertisement aimed at encouraging the men to go to the clinic on Monday after hitting the weekend which would show their courageousness. This campaign help support the notion it is important for a man to be tested to fully acquire the status of masculinity as they have been stereotyped as individuals who love sex and therefore being tested acts as an intervention of redefining the masculine behavior to be positive ("'Real Men Don't?: Constructions of Masculinity and Inadvertent Harm in Public Health Interventions").
Gender equality can help reduce stereotyping the health of the men. Different practitioners and scientists who work in regions where there is violence have encouraged the use of gender-transformative approaches. The gender transformative approaches are essential as they assist in reshaping of different masculinity norms associated with poor health and also enhance gender. The approaches help the men to engage in protected sex, not engage in partner violence issues such as fighting, view the women as being equal and as well as reduce HIV and STI cases. One of the transformative approaches is holding of awareness campaigns in areas where most men congregate such as the workplace, recreational facilities or at school. The campaign should aim at critically analyzing what it means to be a man by examining the various norms that encourage the men to have more than one sexual partner or not to use protection while having sexual intercourse. Such discussions with the men can play a significant role in assisting the male gender to reconfigure their gender norms to improve their health. Interventions that are gender transformative tend to make the men more aware of attitudes that are gender equitable in the society and that gives the desire to act in a way that is more masculine. Men should be made aware of the importance of moving from patriarchal masculinity to transformative masculinity. Some the transformative masculinity norms include sharing of the child care and household responsibilities with the wife, at the workplace men should support and as well as challenge each other to change their behavior and promote gender equality (Derks).
To deal with the gender-based violence it is important to focus on the roles of men, the ideas of the society concerning masculinity and the relationship that exists between them and other people and as well as with other men. Men have a positive role in ensuring that the men do not violate women. More men should be encouraged to work on issues affecting gender equality. This can be supported by funding of such campaigns by the local government. Men should get involved in important partnerships between mens and womens organizations and networks. Different campaign domains can be used to engage the men in violence prevention measures. For example, the MenCare project is a global campaign project that aims at informing the men about the importance of being good caregivers, and responsible fathers who are non-violent. The MenCare project is a campaign that encourages the male gender to treat the women with care and respect.
Regional and global networking is also a means that can be used to curb the problem of violence against the women. For example, in 2008 there was a regional joint programme that was formed by the United Nations with the aim of preventing gender-based violence in the Asia- Pacific. Some of the global networking that should be formed are NGOs and UN agencies that advocate and urge the men to embrace gender equality and also fight for gender equality. Such organizations should have a positive vision to promote equality. With a positive vision, they will be able to challenge the generalized stigmatization of the young men and work with them on masculinities and to live their lives showing dignity, respect and mutuality which are considered to be key values to transformative masculini...
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