By Luis Castro
Middle school boys can be fierce. Not all of them, but most of them are.
That’s when they start getting exposed to the dirty side of life, like gangsta rap and porn, or just bad influences which teach boys to disrespect girls. So they come to think that they are better than girls just because they are masculine.
I know from experience. Read the rest of this entry
Boys and men can spend a lot of time putting on a tough guise, hoping to pass for tough guys.
Maybe you’ve seen Jackson Katz’s film, Tough Guise, which explores the problem.
The film opens with Dorothy pulling back the curtain of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz — who turns out to be a nervous and tragic man. Read the rest of this entry
- Dartmouth frat names and demeans women the brothers had sex with
- Duke’s Alpha Delta Phi and Sigma Nu issue Halloween invitation to sorority “sluts, bitches, witches” — sprinkling the overture with supplementary disparagements
- Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chanted, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” around the women’s dorms
- San Diego State frat boys screamed obscenities, threw eggs, and waved dildos at “Take Back the Night” marchers
Smells like insecurity Read the rest of this entry
It’s really confusing. Every week you have some dorm seminar on sexual assault, and a constant buzz about what’s appropriate. Then you go to a party on the weekend and it’s everything they said to avoid. Get girls drunk so they’ll have sex with you. Lying to them or telling them how interested you are in them and how much you like them, when it’s completely not true. All you really want to do is have sex with them and then get the hell out of there.
– One man’s take on male/female relations on college campuses
While there are a lot of really great guys out there, unfortunately for women today, some guys still want to screw you. Read the rest of this entry
When David Wexler’s wife asked him to hold her purse for a moment he was suddenly filled with shame, seeing his masculinity at risk:
Loaded down with shopping bags, my wife asked me to grab her purse and carry it across the plaza. That’s all. Yet even though I knew I was being stupid, I couldn’t do it. The 15 seconds being seen carrying a purse were beyond my capacities as a card-carrying male…
Shame may be the least understood dimension of men’s inner experience — by both men themselves and the people who live with them.
Shame-o-phobia is what therapist, David Wexler calls the sort of thing that leaves men questioning their manhood over stupid stuff. Like The Freezing Water Test:
It’s really confusing. Every week you have some dorm seminar on sexual assault, and
a constant buzz about what’s appropriate. Then you go to a party on the weekend and it’s everything they said to avoid. Get girls drunk so they’ll have sex with you. Lying to them or telling them how interested you are in them and how much you like them, when it’s completely not true. All you really want to do is have sex with them and then get the hell out of there.
– One man’s take on male/female relations on college campuses
While there are a lot of really great guys out there, unfortunately for women today, some guys still want to screw you.
Take hookup culture. Women and men play the same game. But by different rules. Intercourse means the man wins, or “scores,” and the woman loses. He gains status. His reputation is enhanced. But “sluts,” as they’re called, “give it up,” meaning both sex and reputation. Hence, the vague meaning of “hookup” – ranging from “we kissed” to intercourse, so that she’ll keep playing the game.
Still, after sex she may beg, “Don’t tell.” But telling is the main goal. As one guy put it:
When I’ve just got laid, the first thing I think about – before I’ve even like “finished” – is that I can’t wait to tell my crew who I just did.
Why would a guy screw a girl just so he can brag? And why’s that more important than sexual pleasure?
All of the quotes above are from Guyland by sociologist, Michael Kimmel, one of the leading experts on men and masculinity. What’s his take on why some men treat women so poorly?
As Kimmel sees it, it boils down to personal identity. A preoccupation with proving “manhood.”
In America, as elsewhere, men are still thought superior. So they must constantly prove they deserve the high status.
Has anyone ever heard of “proving womanhood”? But then, why put effort into demonstrating you are lesser-than (as the culture sees it)?
Seeking to demonstrate manhood, men must be aware of what they wear or drive, or how they walk, talk, eat, stand, sit… Some meet stupidly dangerous challenges. A few may act cruelly, showing no fear or vulnerability.
Those who don’t conform may be named:
Sissy, wimp, faggot, dork, pussy, loser, wuss, nerd, queer, homo, girl, gay, skirt, mama’s boy, pussy-whipped.
Yet women aren’t afraid of being called tomboy or daddy’s girl. And when women are told, “You the man!” that’s good!
But then, when men act like women they are seen as lowering themselves. Women are not seen as putting themselves down by taking on masculine traits.
Unfortunately, some men think that f’ing women is a means of displaying “manhood” – or certain notions of what that means.
When manhood is seen as powerful, dominant, aggressive, violent, and potent, screwing women – whether they want it or not – can make men feel “they are all that” as they conquer women, getting them to submit sexually, as in competition, or war. These men aren’t vulnerable to women. They don’t have “girly” emotion-filled relationships, or experience emotional dependence. No. They are REAL men.
Even words that some men use for sex can sound violent. Here’s a list some young men in my classes made: Screw, f-, bang, nail, ram, smash, smack that, beat those, cut, boning, git-in-em-guts.
Really, when guys try so hard to be tough, they are probably bellowing to hide insecurity. So busy figuring out who they are and wanting to believe they are men, the drive for basic self-worth looms larger than sex, safety or shame in cruelty.
Michael Kimmel says guys can feel torn between proving manhood and expressing their humanity, but says they don’t need to choose. Real manhood, he says, is marked by honor, respect, integrity, emotional resilience, and doing the right thing despite the costs.