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Male Behaviour in the Article “How Boys Become Men” by Jon Katz Essay

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Updated: Oct 23rd, 2021

In the article “How Boys Become Men’, Jon Katz analyzes several peculiarities of male behavior, particularly, the propensity to conceal their feelings and weaknesses. In the authors opinion, since their childhood, men are inclined to abide by certain principles or codes of honor, prohibiting them to express their emotions (Katz, 1). He argues that the fear of looking vulnerable or fragile adversely affects a boys personality because it can make him callous or even cruel. In addition, it will be difficult for such a person to cope with his problems because other people may not know how to help him. Although the article is not scholarly and is mostly based on personal experience, we can say that the authors arguments are grounded and supported by many examples.

Jon Katz also shows that this “code of conduct” may even contradict the instinct of self-preservation. He argues that men (or even boys) would rather suffer pain than show any sign of fear, which, in their view, is shameful and disreputable. Naturally, we cannot say with certainty whether such a behavioral pattern is cross-cultural; more likely, it depends not only on the cultural background but also on his education, worldview, and family.

As regards the stylistic peculiarities of this article, it is worth mentioning that the author employs many colloquial and rather derogatory words, for instance, “sissy, nerd, goody-goody, or rat” he intends to describe the way, in which boys (and subsequently men) stigmatize any manifestation of weakness, vulnerability, and empathy. Jon Katz does not explicitly state it but it can be deduced from his argument that boys are afraid of any behavior, which may seem to them feminine. Anything that appears effeminate (even compassion) is unacceptable according to their tacit rules that can be very cruel sometimes.

The author says that there is a very curious paradox, men need affection, warmth, empathy, and love, which is a natural desire of every human being, however, they dare not ask for it (Jon Katz, 2). The main problem is that they attach primary importance to being strong while despising feminine. Similar views have already been expressed by many representatives of the feminist movement, especially Elaine Showalter.

In this article, Jon Katz describes the whole cruelty of such behavior. Every boy who ventures to violate the so-called “code of conduct” is immediately punished. Such punishment can have several forms: boycotting, or humiliation. Sometimes, it can result in violence. Such a boy virtually becomes an outcast, expelled from male society.

Another problem, which springs from male fear of looking weak, is the inability to communicate with the opposite sex because women (or girls) want to know the inner world of a person, especially his feelings, but men are trying to conceal their inmost thoughts. Jon Katz says that some of them can overcome this barrier; however, expression of their feelings is always something “weird” or unnatural for them, because it contradicts their principles or “code of conduct” (Katz, 2).

To conclude, the article “How Boys Become”, written by Jon Katz, represents feminist views on male behavior. The author proves that suppression of one’s emotion may have rather detrimental results, namely, callosity, inability to ask for help, and even cruelty. Even though the style of this work is non-scientific, the argument is quite clear and it can be traced throughout the article.

Bibliography

Jon Katz. “How Boys Become Men”, 1993.

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IvyPanda. "Male Behaviour in the Article “How Boys Become Men" by Jon Katz." October 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/male-behaviour-in-the-article-how-boys-become-men-by-jon-katz/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Male Behaviour in the Article “How Boys Become Men" by Jon Katz." October 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/male-behaviour-in-the-article-how-boys-become-men-by-jon-katz/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Male Behaviour in the Article “How Boys Become Men" by Jon Katz'. 23 October.

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