Guest Blogger: Emily Andersen

The social expectancies and contradicting pressures for women in modern society are constantly under scrutiny. Sexually charged advertisements and unobtainable standards set by the fashion industry create a wave of passionate reaction within the feminist community (and usually within any woman who is tired of the burdens the culture places on us every day).

Just looking through this blog, there is a whole section broadly labeled “gender” with commentary on a huge range of issues that people have been influenced by. As I scrolled through all seven pages of blogs written in the “gender” section, I did not come across one article that discussed the effects that cultural influences had on men (don’t worry I scanned the “boys” section as well). I did see the picture about how Disney projects an image of men through their movies, but I’ve never heard a guy claim Prince Eric or Aladdin to be his role model, have you? So what?

Well, the first thing that popped into my head was, I guess guys don’t have a problem with how society portrays them. And honestly I don’t find that hard to believe, considering that society basically tells them that they can do no wrong. Men can be as sexually promiscuous as they want without detrimental effect on their reputations, men are not constantly asked when they are going to get married once they’ve surpassed the age of thirty, and generally even annoying and obnoxious men have friends (see Barney from “How I Met Your Mother”).

Men are expected to be into sports, be into sex, have great self-confidence, and no vulnerability. They are also stereotyped as being very sexually active and sexually driven. How come men in our society don’t feel as provoked to speak out against these cultural pressures as women do? Are they afraid of appearing emotional by creating controversy? Do they actually like being stuck in a social box? Men used to grow up focused on the end goal, having a job and a family of their own. Being respected used to be a priority, but now it’s all about being accepted. Then I got to thinking, was Ward Cleaver the male stereotype? Is this generation just attempting to throw off the shackles of the “Provider, Protector” image?

I don’t think I can really answer that (for one reason because I’m a girl), it seems like a viable answer. But really? Would men rather be perceived as sex-crazed, macho organisms that run off ego and beer or would they rather be respected, admired, and appreciated? Hopefully this post can generate some much needed conversation, because (obviously) I have a lot of questions and not so many answers.


7 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Emily Andersen

  1. Ami says:

    I so agree to your blog. I find that society judges each and one of else. We create standards that we feel people alt to be in. we cant classified people, because not everyone is going be what we expect them to be. Men, just as women have social pressure. If we get to understand our vision of each other I think society might change it views on how a man and woman should be. after all, we created it, we can change it. No one is perfect.

  2. Ashley says:

    You raise a good point. I’m doing my MAT study in how perceptions of gender stereotyping affect high school sudents’ perceptions of their own academic success in the classroom (yeah that’s a lot of “perceptions” but it saves me the trouble of hving to actually go through and pull out actual grades, etc. It’s all about how they FEEL), so this is something I’ve actually thought about.

    I don’t have a concrete answer…maybe once I survey mjy students, I’ll get something a little more reliable…but my impression is, the reason men don’t speak ot about stereotyping is that that’s just ANOTHER stereotype of being a man: You don’t complain. suck it up, spit on it, rub some dirt in it. Don’t whine. Can you just see what the media would do with the images of a bunch of men sitting around saying, “Oh, I feel so used by the commercial industry! It makes me feel so dirty, the way they portray men as sex-crazed animals. Me, I’m a romance man. Sometimes I just want to CUDDLE, you know?” Even as I type it, i can see that mockery playing out before my eyes. It’s not “macho” to have feelings. And fromt here it’s just a great big endless circular problem.

  3. Well Emily I can see that the mentality of men, seems to get under your skin a little. There are parts of your blog that I agree with and some that I do not, For instance I would say that most boys will not say they look at Aladdin as a role model is because he is from the streets and does not have a lot going for him. But due to the fact that he has a sweet pet monkey Abu and a Genie, I do remember growing up idolizing him some ways. The truth is though; most men don’t really care or pay attention to the “label” that is put on men. We are simple-minded and find pleasure in some of the most basic things. Along with that we are not constantly changing our views and styles to meet the standard. That is why you will constantly see sports and barley clothed, beautiful women on the television screen because our society is focused upon the wants of men more then women. It is not the fact that society is telling men that they can do no wrong; it is that men do not care if they do wrong if they are doing what they want. I think that woman are more worried about the reactions to there actions and men just do the action then worry about the repercussions afterward. You write “Men can be as sexually promiscuous as they want without detrimental effect on their reputations, men are not constantly asked when they are going to get married once they’ve surpassed the age of thirty.” Once a man reaches the age of 30 I am almost certain that they come across the question of marriage just as much as women. Also a man might not have such detrimental effect on their reputation if they sleep around but it is still not a good look and will bring negative attention to them. I think the reason why men do not feel obligated to speak out against these cultural pressures is because most of the expectations are very true and we like the social box we are in.

  4. laurenthinks says:

    I think part of the “male image” is to not give a shit. Therefore, even if they did have a problem with the ways they were portrayed, they wouldn’t admit it, let alone speak up. As a girl, its impossible to understand their real opinions on the matter. But, I guess my opinion is that you can’t speak for their gender as a whole. It would be unfair to stereotype by saying that all guys embrace the image of being beer-loving, sports-crazed womanizers. I’m sure some guys love it, and some guys hate it. It depends on the individual. Similar to us girls– it’s almost like there’s sub-divisions within each gender. There are the girly-girls, tom boys, etc. Some girls get amusement out of being called names like “sluts” or “bitches” and even call each other that in a joking manner. Then there are girls that are extremely offended by that. Equally, my understanding is that some guys like being “players,” while others prefer the chivalrous gentleman image.

    • perezer says:

      I completely agree with your blog post. It seems like men have more freedom to do whatever they want and whenever they want to. The saying,” Boys will be boys” is true to this. Men can go out and stay out for a longer periods of time than girl. I remember growing up to hearing my mother’s excuse for why I couldn’t attend parties but my older male cousin could, “He is a boy and can defend himself.” Defend himself against what? If any sex has to “defend” themselves in order to go out then the government should start making it there duty to create safer streets for the entire community.

  5. lizbramley says:

    I dont know exactly what my opinion on this subject is. However,part the stereotype men have I think women have created. Now a days a lot of girls are attracted to the guy who is super buff and walks with confidence and yeah I can admit it, has crazy sexual vibes. ( The only reason I say this is because I’ve seen many a friend go out with a no good douche bag, just because he is extremely good looking by societies standards and thinks he is God’s gift to women- and so have you) Do we want to settle down and marry that kind of guy? Probably not, but still men who are like that get a lot of attention from women.ALOT. Who are you going to flirt with? The mysterious guy who is tall dark and handsome or the guy who is not as short and a little pudgy. People can say they care about whats on the inside but we all know who we would flirt with. Men want women’s attention just as much as we want theres. The stereotype isn’t around because guys don’t give a shit. Its because they DO give a shit. About what were thinking about them.They want to be the one we flirt with. And they will try to fit the stereotype to impress girls.Just like the stereotype of women is created by men, we do have some part of creating the stereotype of men. We expect them to be into sports, we expect them to be into sex, we expect them to be a manly man. Maybe if girls flirted a little more with the nice guy instead of the hot asshole stereotypes would change. Does this have everything to do with the standards today of being a “man”? Of course not, but it is something to think about.

  6. AbbyMW says:

    I have to agree with Connor. Although some of the men you have chosen to exemplify as “male role models” it is a bit skewed. First, many of the men chosen as examples come from romanticized movies or TV shows. For example, Aladdin is from one of the Disney Princesses movie, which is specifically targeted towards girls/women. However, I follow your point. I think a more appropriate example would be a fireman, or armed forces representative. These hyper masculine examples are what I believe men hope to embody. When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up what are their answers? A boy would say something like a fireman or police officer. A girl would say an actress or model. I think that because of these two very different answers, you have to see how the media targets different genders. The simple fact is the way media targets different genders, and social classes is what has the largest effect on the population as it ages. The media tells women to care, so they care! Like Connor said, most men don’t care! I rarely see my dad go in to watch some sitcom TV show. All he cares about is watching the news in the morning, and the game at night, or some hunting show if there is no game he would rather prefer. Although unlike what Connor said, I think the media targets women. Most things are created to fulfill the social needs and wants that women have. I have a feeling if it was up to men, there probably wouldn’t be much media, they aren’t much for drama. How often do you see a man pick up a magazine while checking out at a grocery store? Yes, they do like certain media, but if it wasn’t there I don’t think they would care to much.

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