http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/its-your-body/the-hazards-of-manhood?utm_source=octnov12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mrHazardsManhood

This article depicts a common problem in our world…a problem that asks men to be “men”….no matter at what cost.

A young neighbor of mine was told by his mother and older brother that he must go fight…even through his please of not wanting to, they droned in the ideals of “manhood” into him: “you have to be tough”, “you can’t let people push you around”, “you have to be a man” , “you better not stop fighting till someone is one the ground, the one left standing wins”, “I’ll get you a reward for winning and for doing this.”

These and many more statements filled with derogatory comments alluding to the fact that if you’re not a man, you’re either a girl or a piece of a woman’s genitalia. As the words got more harsh, the words begin to be spit at the 11 year old.  In the end, he rode away on his bike ready for the fight that he didn’t want to go to with tears streaming out fo his eyes.

As this article says:  “This kind of manhood striving is driven by a contradiction: To be a real man in U.S. society, one must have or display power—the capacity to exert control over one’s self and the surrounding world—but the fact is that most men in a capitalist society have little or no power. For most men, striving for manhood status is an attempt to evade this contradiction, to escape the psychic pain it causes.”

The pain that it causes is pushed down into more violence and sexualization, so that these men feel no pain, and it is transferred to the violence or a insatiable sexual appetite to cover up the pain.

However, as the article continues to say…in the work place this is what is asked for: “Most American men know perfectly well the qualities they must display to be considered fully creditable as men: power, competitiveness, and toughness. This turns out to be enormously useful for generating profit. Just give men opportunities to display manhood in these ways and they’ll do things that add to the bottom line, even if it’s to their own detriment.”

In the end, “this what capitalism exploits, what it uses up, in the quest for profit is human bodies. This occurs in both the workplace and the marketplace. One way to enhance the exploitability of male bodies is to instill in them the desire to be men. The trick is to make feelings of self-worth contingent on the ability to display the qualities culturally defined as signs of being a real man.”

Being a real man and being a good man is most important…and the article goes on to show that we are not creating “good men”, we are creating this testosterone drunk view of what a man should be, based on archaic social structures of societies like Sparta and Ancient Greece.

This view of a “real man” is propagated even further through reality TV which shows and depicts what kids and young adults see as “real” people. If they are real people, they are famous, they are rich, they can do anything they want – that is how to be.

So in the end…this article asks us to decide whether this view of a real man is helping our society or simply destroying it?:

 

 

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