Friday, November 28, 2014

The Man Box

As you may recall, on Monday we discussed feminist contributions to ethical theory. We made lists of characteristics that we would use to define a typical man and woman. Through our discussion it was pointed out how men and women are raised a certain way to such an extent that their are specific stereotypes of each that immediately come to mind such as men are supposed to make more money than women or men should be strong and protect women and so on. As for women, they should be seen as inferior to men and should be payed less and the like.  During this discussion I was wondering whether or not it could be said that their is a distinction between a man and a gentleman. I thought it over and realized that while a gentleman may not exhibit all the characteristics of  a "regular" man would, they are still men and they to an extent have the same characteristics of men. Which means they are trapped inside the man box.
As this shows, these are the characteristics men are taught to have as they grow up: protectors, decision makers, persons of power and control who do not cry openly or express emotion and notably, do not act like women. In the TED talk below, Tony Porter gives an explanation of why we have this "man box" and why it's an issue.


  1. As a feminist I constantly hear guys complain that women want the equal rights as men, yet when it comes to certain issues women want to back out of it. For example, some men complain how it is unfair for women to hit men and get away with it, but it is not ok for a man to hit women back. The obvious response of many women would probably be that men are physically stronger than women, and therefore women ought to be protected by the law from this abusive treatment. From looking at your post my response to this issue is that feminism does not only seek after women's rights but men's as well. Men have been trapped in this social cage were they are not allow to express their emotions in fear that they may be looked at as weak, feminine, gay, etc... This forces them to act tough and sometimes violent in many situations. As a result, men may act more aggressive than women in order to remain dominant/stronger as their gender role implies. If gender equality was possible men wouldn't have to submit to the pressure of being tougher. I sincerely believe that this would give men less tension and possibly decrease the suicide rates. Feminism does not only seek women's right but a system of gender equality.

  2. The more I look at this sort of stuff, the more these pressures surrounding growing up as a man disgusts me. There are all these things that push to define behaviors, and so many of them point towards creating social problems that enforce patriarchal ideals, such as being dominant and having a kind of ownership over other people. I look at my own life, and I see reinforcing behaviors in everything from religion and politics to television and media culture. They all push boys to be "Men", which is characterized by traits that produce highly toxic behavior. When I, as a male, feel disgusted by the majority of my own gender, there is a deep seated issue that is not being resolved buried under the guise of goodness and so called positive behavior.
    Falling prey to these norms is... just so terrible. I can't even properly express how much I hate this idealism that a man must be these things, that these are what define them. The spectrum of human behavior is far too vivid and colorful to possibly define a "man" or his role socially. Any differences between the two sexes biologically does not substantiate good reasoning to make anyone dominant or force them into a role; human beings are simply too diverse, being both good and bad at different things in variances between individuals, to put an entire sex into a generic role defined by ANY characteristics beyond purely biological necessities (men can't birth children, but that's about the extent of it).
    I absolutely hate what culture has done to behavior in this case. It is simply tragic that people should be pressed socially into roles that they are sanded down to fit into.


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