FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Masculine Mystique (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: The Masculine Mystique
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:

Speaking as a woman, my issue with MRA and other such movements is that it tends to either barge into feminist discussions or worse, blame feminism as the cause for its issues.

If women are discussing the unrealistic female body images in the media, it really isn't the time for men to jump up and say, "Well we have it bad too!" Its not to say that male body image isn't worth dealing with, but not by barging into a discussion about women. If a minority group is addressing issues and trying to raise awareness and come up with solutions, it feels like hijacking to have the majority jump in with their personal concerns.

If a group of people of color are having a discussion about aggressive stop-and-frisk campaigns, then don't you think it would be offensive for someone who is white to chime in and start talking about police harassment in their community.

I think there's a tendency to want to say "Well, don't you think this is a problem that all people face" which can really appear to be an attempt to diminish the serious problems that were initially being addressed. Haven't we all been in a position where we're telling a story about something tragic that happened to us, maybe we were in a serious car accident, maybe we spent a week in the hospital, and someone chimes in about how they got hit a few years ago and got whiplash.

You can't just say 'pain is pain.' I think there's a danger is trying to equivocate issues. The minority group comes out of the discussion feeling steamrolled and the majority group is dismissed as bullies, regardless of how valid their claims are.

I think its seen as an easy way gain attention, to jump on women's issues to bring up how it affects men.

Developing awareness and getting people involved isn't going to be easy. The feminist movement has decades under its belt and they've been fighting some of these battles since the beginning with no end in sight. I would really hate to see valid issues affecting men dismissed because its trying to hijack the work done by the feminist movement. Its not going to gain them any female allies and it makes it fertile playground for the anti-women individuals who are just looking for an easy audience for their misogyny.

Shanna,

I totally agree on not barging into the conversation. When it comes to something like body image issues, I'd like to have a parallel debate, rather than a combative one. But I think it's difficult, because often the problem is just as much being shouted down by women as it is men interjecting into the woman's conversation. If it's not a man saying "well, we have it bad to!" it's a woman saying "Shut up, we have it way worse." Neither of those are really constructive avenues, and both need to be adjusted.

But I think I might disagree with you on a couple of your points that follow, for the same reason you list in your last paragraph. Feminists have been on these issues for decades. But there are no masculanists. When we talk about Male Studies, people make the same jokes they make about white and black history. Isn't all history white history? Isn't all history male history? Well, no, it isn't, because Feminist Studies aren't just about studying important women in history and what they did, it's often more about investigating what it meant to be female, and how gender intersects with society. That's a special subset of history. And by and large, it's one that doesn't exist for men. There have been some books written on it, but nowhere near the volume women have, and they have to fight for legitimacy to write even those.

We just don't know, by and large, the extent of what affects men and how it affects them in society because we never really stop to look and ask. Is male body image a problem of equal import to women? Your answer is no, hence your ranking it much, much lower than the same problem for women. But how do you know? Men are taught to not talk about their fears, problems or feelings. We're not going to talk to men OR women about it because it makes us look weak, and society dictates we never look weak. We have no organizations or groups acting on our behalf to study the phenomenon or argue about it in the media or in politics. So to say it's not as big a problem as it is for women is actually kind of silly on the face of it, because there's really nothing to use as evidence for where it would rank as an issue. You have nothing to compare it to.

And to your next point, why shouldn't we be talking about how women's issues affect men? Women don't exist in a vacuum. I obviously disagree with the idea that gender equality has to be a zero sum game, but there are a lot of other issues at hand too. Pay disparity doesn't just rob women of money, it robs FAMILIES of money as well, which puts more pressure on men to earn more to make up the gap. Working moms making more money would be beneficial to two-parent households.

I'm not saying men should get any sort of veto or anything about a lot of these issues, but they need to be included in the conversation, and we should absolutely be talking about how changes will affect them.

Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dogbreath
Member
Member # 11879

 - posted      Profile for Dogbreath           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sa'eed: Have you ever been in the military? Have you ever been shot at? Been in a fight? Fired a weapon? Do you honestly think you have *any* idea what service members, male or female, go through? "Holds their hand"?

I'm a Marine, and due to the rather intense nature of our training, the Marine Corps is only 5% female. Every Marine, male or female, infantry or not, has to successfully complete infantry school in order to join the FMC. The females carry the same weight as we do, their M240s weigh 27 lbs, just like ours, they hike the same distance wearing the same 100 lb packs and dig the same foxholes and go through the same shit. That 5%, the women who make it through, are absolute monsters - physical prodigies - and I guarantee they could kick your ass.

As far as "not being given dangerous missions" - the Marine Corps has been using FETs for quite a while to get around the rules in place against females in combat. And it's given us quite a noticeable tactical advantage.

Only about 1% of our fatalities are female (as opposed to 5% of our operating force) - but this matches casualty rates among males in support roles too. You can hardly forbid women from being allowed to serve in the infantry and then blame them for not dying enough!

But more to the point, I know a female Staff Sergeant with a combat action ribbon who conducted herself quite valiantly in combat. I know quite a few more females who have been in combat and have not gotten the recognition they deserve (and their male colleagues received) because they weren't supposed to be there. Have you ever been in combat? Have you ever sacrificed anything at all to serve your nation? Or do you just like trash talking women who are braver and stronger than you?

Posts: 2222 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanna
Member
Member # 7900

 - posted      Profile for Shanna   Email Shanna         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think we've had this discussion before, but for the forum at large, the issue I keep coming back to is...what's really stopping groups of men from studying the affects of body image in advertising, producing art that combats male stoicism, etc?

When I wonder why women don't get paid as much as men for the same job, I look to the overwhelming number of men in CEO and other high-ranking industry positions, I look at the disproportionate number of men in my government refusing to pass Equal Wage Laws. Overwhelmingly, in regards to many feminist issues, resistance is coming from outside...from a male-dominated society.

Still, there are issues within feminism where women are the combatants. There's been backlash against woman who prefer to be feminine, to be mothers, who like things like clothes and makeup. But amongst my generation I'm seeing those internal discussions reinforcing feminism's right to choose how to be a woman, versus old standards that made girls feel like they had to be Superwoman if they were going to have any chance out in the world.

These internal gender discussions should be happening. And they should be happening for men separate from the feminism debate. Based on the behavior of MRAs, even seem to pop up like daisies, ITS DRASTICALLY NEEDED.

A "Men's Right" discussion is just such a drastically different monster than women's rights. Its a fight against a system established and upheld by their own gender. Mens' worst enemy is their fellow man. Ideally, I would love to see some sort of organization that openly and loudly renounces the misogyny of the MRA otherwise any new foundation simply invites them in.

As for conversation and involvement, I really think most men would benefit from listening to feminist discussions rather than participating in them. Its something I learned from attending LGBTA meetings when I was in school. It feels like that A should be lower-case or missing entirely. The best thing an Ally can do is listen. And listen some more. Be supportive, but remember that they aren't the knowledgeable ones in the room.

I've had so many of these discussions with male friends. They laugh at my story about being cat-called while out jogging, they say they wish they had girls screaming out windows at them, until I tell them at the car followed me for several blocks. At work, the women share stories about customers who have touched us without our permission, stood behind us and crowded us against counters, commented on our bodies, and made any number of sexist comments. In broad daylight, in a bookstore of all places. Its kind of amusing and always sad when a male coworker is in the office listening to our stories in shock. Its not part of their workplace experience. I don't mind them hearing because they should. Maybe one of them will hear a story and think back to a girl they were flirting with a week ago, maybe they'll think about she responded to questions with single words or her body language suggested she wanted out of the conversation entirely. Maybe they will hear stories about women who were retaliated against for rejecting advances and maybe they'll understand why some women are reluctant to say NO and are conditioned to let men down as softly as possible. Allies should always listen, question their own behavior, model correct behavior, and be outspoken when they see prejudice coming from their own group. THAT is how they can best participate when involved in a discussion that is not about them.

On a side note cause I know it wasn't your intent, but I get a bad taste in my mouth at the idea of framing the wage disparity around how it would benefit hetero-families with children. Its really dismissive of single women, spouses without children, and lesbian families. I deserve equal pay because I can do the job just as well, not because it would benefit my non-existent husband and non-existent children.

Posts: 1733 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeff C.
Member
Member # 12496

 - posted      Profile for Jeff C.           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I really don't agree that women have it better than men. I mean seriously, are you high (if so, I say bravo to you and good day)?

I know several women who have been raped, abused (both emotionally and physically), sexually harassed, and so on. I only know one guy who has been physically abused by his wife, but even he admits that it's not a huge deal because because of their size difference (he spents two hours a day in the gym and is huge, whereas she is tiny and doesn't work out at all). On a side note, their sex life is apparently amazing (go figure).

I don't know the circumstances of your abuse (whoever it was that said they'd experienced that), but if a woman ever smacked me, I'd smack her right back. If she tried to beat me with a stick, I'd get the hell out and leave her forever. Same goes if you're a woman and you're getting abused. Just leave! The only one who is keeping you there is yourself. There are too many programs out there and too many oppurtunities for you to just accept it. There's always a way out.

Anyway, I'd never want to be a woman (except for the orgasms, of course). They have to give childbirth, for God's sake. Not only that, but they bleed for five days a month! I'm not willing to do that. Not by a long shot.

Posts: 1324 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shanna -

Thanks for your response.

quote:
what's really stopping groups of men from studying the affects of body image in advertising, producing art that combats male stoicism, etc?
That's a perfectly good point. In many cases it's an intra-male problem because we're doing it to ourselves. It's difficult to get around because culture dictates that men can't talk about it, especially not with each other, and if you can't talk about it, how do you attack the problem? How do you even identify it as a problem? That's why it's largely been academic up to this point. But as far as studies go, that requires funding, and there's just not much money anywhere for studies on male issues. There is some funding, but it's nowhere even close to a fraction of what women's studies get.

Until the male role in society evolves to the point where we can have an open conversation about things like this, we're going to be stuck in the mud.

But women can play a role as well. For every instance where you see someone calling a man a pig or chastise a man for being a consumer of negative female imagery that perpetuates a stereotype of how women should look, there should be an instance where women are similarly chastised for their consumption of media that does the same to men. There's currently zero stigma against it, whereas male consumption of sexualized females is heavily stigmatized, and that stigmatization is widely accepted as an appropriate response. Women have a role to play in that conversation because they are consumers of the sexualized male imagery just like men are consumers of sexualized female imagery. It damages both sides, and both sides have a role to play in stopping it.

But back to your original question, it's not like I'm just talking to women here. I'm talking to other men too. But the male-to-male conversation can often be interrupted by feminists as well, who want men to focus on female problems rather than male ones.

quote:
When I wonder why women don't get paid as much as men for the same job, I look to the overwhelming number of men in CEO and other high-ranking industry positions, I look at the disproportionate number of men in my government refusing to pass Equal Wage Laws. Overwhelmingly, in regards to many feminist issues, resistance is coming from outside...from a male-dominated society.
I'm with you 100% on that one. Just keep in mind that there are what, 160 million men in this country, and maybe a thousand of them are high powered CEOs and politicians. Republicans beat Democrats in Congress among men by 8%, and the divide on women's issues between men and women is pretty clear, but as you focus in on the 54% of men who voted for Republicans and a like anti-woman agenda, remember the 46% of men who voted for Democrats, and a likely pro-woman agenda. They're the ones who pushed stuff like the Lily Ledbetter Act and other legislation for pay equity. I know it's a bunch of white men screwing you over, but those same white men are screwing a lot of other white men over too. I think it's more of a class issue than a gender one. Rich white men don't exactly speak for or represent white men as a whole. They certainly don't represent me. It's not just women against men, it's women AND men against other men. It's just that since one side is one gender, it's easy to lose sight of that. I'll grant you, though, that this is still a male-dominated society where women have to fight to be heard, and have to fight for things that they should automatically have. I think that's a trend that's changing, since demographics suggest young women are pulling ahead of young men in many ways, but that's cold comfort in the here and now.

quote:
These internal gender discussions should be happening. And they should be happening for men separate from the feminism debate. Based on the behavior of MRAs, even seem to pop up like daisies, ITS DRASTICALLY NEEDED.

A "Men's Right" discussion is just such a drastically different monster than women's rights. Its a fight against a system established and upheld by their own gender. Mens' worst enemy is their fellow man. Ideally, I would love to see some sort of organization that openly and loudly renounces the misogyny of the MRA otherwise any new foundation simply invites them in.

I agree on all counts.

quote:
I've had so many of these discussions with male friends. They laugh at my story about being cat-called while out jogging, they say they wish they had girls screaming out windows at them, until I tell them at the car followed me for several blocks. At work, the women share stories about customers who have touched us without our permission, stood behind us and crowded us against counters, commented on our bodies, and made any number of sexist comments. In broad daylight, in a bookstore of all places. Its kind of amusing and always sad when a male coworker is in the office listening to our stories in shock. Its not part of their workplace experience. I don't mind them hearing because they should. Maybe one of them will hear a story and think back to a girl they were flirting with a week ago, maybe they'll think about she responded to questions with single words or her body language suggested she wanted out of the conversation entirely. Maybe they will hear stories about women who were retaliated against for rejecting advances and maybe they'll understand why some women are reluctant to say NO and are conditioned to let men down as softly as possible. Allies should always listen, question their own behavior, model correct behavior, and be outspoken when they see prejudice coming from their own group. THAT is how they can best participate when involved in a discussion that is not about them.
I agree with all of this too. Some of those bad reactions, like your male friends saying they wish they were the object of that sort of attention goes to the heart of what men need to be discussing with each other, and what fathers need to be teaching their sons.

I'd also add (and this is in no way meant to excuse bad or outright illegal behavior), that society presents a confusing image to young men of how they're supposed to court women. We're told there are instances where no means yes, where women secretly want us to do things they publicly say they don't, where we're supposed to read between the lines and understand the secret woman's language subtext. And this isn't just stuff coming from male-dominated areas. Plenty of female authored books and movies portray this image as well. Do I think this excuses poor behavior? No. But if we're really interested in understanding some of why young men grow up thinking what they do, we should investigate the cultural influences that lead to that behavior.

Young men are getting conflicting messages. On the one hand you get media which tells them they practically need a sixth sense to know what women want and are thinking, and that women often say one thing and mean another, and real romance means being able to decipher the code, that's what a real man does. But the other part tells them to tread incredibly lightly around women. Personally, I think they should all err on the side of caution, but young men and boys who don't know what to make of all this are having a difficult time establishing behavioral norms for what is and isn't acceptable behavior while also trying to navigate a flood of emotions and difficult social interactions during their formative years.

That's one that women are going to have to help out with.

quote:
On a side note cause I know it wasn't your intent, but I get a bad taste in my mouth at the idea of framing the wage disparity around how it would benefit hetero-families with children. Its really dismissive of single women, spouses without children, and lesbian families. I deserve equal pay because I can do the job just as well, not because it would benefit my non-existent husband and non-existent children.
Of course. Framing it that way doesn't exclude the fundamental right or detract from the rights of those who aren't included in the framing. A right is a right, but pay disparity causes splash damage, so to speak, that has real effects on hetero-families, with or without children. There's nothing wrong with pointing that out to men to try to garner their support. There would be something wrong if that was the ONLY reason pushed to support it, because it'd leave a lot of women behind.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
Can we just pretend that Sa'eed isn't participating in this thread?

I want to acknowledge Sa'eed only in terms of noting that he's saying some pretty vile and sexist shit, but other than making note of that, sure.
Posts: 15417 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sa'eed
Member
Member # 12368

 - posted      Profile for Sa'eed   Email Sa'eed         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
When I wonder why women don't get paid as much as men for the same job, I look to the overwhelming number of men in CEO and other high-ranking industry positions, I look at the disproportionate number of men in my government refusing to pass Equal Wage Laws. Overwhelmingly, in regards to many feminist issues, resistance is coming from outside...from a male-dominated society.

Even feminists are coming around to finally accepting the wage gap as a consequence of women's preference for working less and preference for taking extended period of time off to raise children, the latter of which of course impacts their ability to move up in high end careers. But there are studies that show childless, single young women earn more than their male peers. But of course, you exhibit the apex fallacy.. You notice that most CEOs are males, but not that most of the homeless, the jailed, the mentally ill, the people who take the worst jobs, etc, are males. It's simply sexist to want more women in the boardroom without also demanding more women in the janitor's closet.
Posts: 668 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Marlozhan
Member
Member # 2422

 - posted      Profile for Marlozhan   Email Marlozhan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just recently I was working with a client in therapy (my profession is counseling) who unexpectedly brought up issues about his own body image: fear of not being tall enough, fear of being too small. This was someone who would qualify as 'attractive' and 'masculine' in our culture, yet he didn't see it.

He deliberately started taking steroids to increase his body size, which he became addicted to and led to other addictive behaviors. His body image issues had come from experiences of being shamed by both sexes throughout his life. Even his own wife would playfully joke that he was 'small', despite him being self-conscious about it.

Men's issues are real. But I have absolutely no interest in comparing this man's experiences against women's experiences. He has been a victim of cultural forces, many of which are the result of male cultural forces. He did not feel safe, until recently, to even mention his struggles because 'men don't struggle with those things.'

Yet, I could also cite examples where this person has done things to take advantage of women because of his male power. It goes both ways. It is unequal in places. It is complex. We are all affected. I absolutely loathe the idea of Feminists vs. Masculinists, as if the culture wants to go watch some boxing event so we can see a victor.

Posts: 683 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
NobleHunter
Member
Member # 12043

 - posted      Profile for NobleHunter           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One way parts of academia has tried to address the problem is changing "woman's studies" to "gender studies" so that constructs of masculinity is included in the field of study.

The other thing to keep in mind in that feminism exists in the context of the mainstream narratives about gender. Feminists often accept those narratives even as they try to change them. As a result, they can perpetuate some elements despite explicitly rejecting others.

Posts: 185 | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sa'eed
Member
Member # 12368

 - posted      Profile for Sa'eed   Email Sa'eed         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
but what about teh menz
Posts: 668 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Richie Incognito kerfuffle puts men's issues front and center

Not so much a men's rights issue as it is a male role in society issue. Stories like this need to be told more often so we can have more conversations like this, and so many the conversation can shift from blaming the victim to blaming the aggressor.

Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yup. I'm happy about this story insofar as 'he should've been a man and dealt with it quietly or by violent defense' isn't what's on offer.
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reticulum
Member
Member # 8776

 - posted      Profile for Reticulum           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Society is still too stupid to consider Men as having rights from violence as being equal to Women's.
Posts: 2121 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There's certainly something to that, but most people would point out that it's man on man violence the grand majority of the time. Women have a role to play, I think, perhaps even an important one, but by and large I think they're justified in thinking they have their own problems with men to spend extra time defending men against men.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2