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Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality Essay

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2021

Introduction

The process of socialization plays an essential role in a person’s development and growth. As soon as a child is able to recognize rules and standards, parents improve their understanding of their social roles and skills that have to be enhanced. As a rule, this education contains such generally accepted norms as “boys do not cry”, “be strong as a man”, or “be like a girl”. It means that, from early childhood, people learn how to be divided regarding their genders and focus on their expected abilities respectfully. Masculinity is deeply rooted in society, and it is hard to understand if it is necessary to consider such an attitude as a problem or how to deal with it.

This essay is not just a manifestation of masculinity as gender oppression but an attempt to investigate existing stereotypes and inequalities, evaluate a mental health perspective, and clarify what improvements can be offered with time.

Personal Experience

Gender roles, masculinity, and feminism are frequently discussed topics in modern society. In my family, gender relationships are not as provocative as some people may think. Still, such qualities as respect for parents, the power of men, and maternal kindness to her children cannot be ignored. I always know that my mother is ready to listen to me and support my endeavors, and my father provides me with the necessary male advice or financial help. However, sometimes, I would like to know that both my parents can interchange their responsibilities, and I may discuss some personal concerns with my father without questioning my masculinity.

I totally agree with Beaulieu (2017), who believed that toxic masculinity hurts not just women but men as well. I do not want to complain that society, where I live, is imperfect. In fact, I am totally fine with the idea that gender differences make this world better and more interesting. What I say is that socially driven silence based on gender oppression and masculinity should never negatively influence the quality of life, and it is normal to strive for social changes, improvements, and reconsiderations.

Male Stereotypes

Despite multiple intentions to change the world and remove gender inequalities in different countries, there are certain male and female stereotypes that are hard to neglect. The researchers and writers with different background knowledge support the dominant idea that masculinity should encourage male risk-taking, sexual conquest, emotional control, and self-reliance (Beaulieu, 2017; Stępień, 2017).

These are the most common male stereotypes that rule the world and define social relationships. If a person needs protection and physical assistance, it is expected to address a man for some help. If emotional support is required, not many people believe that a man can offer it. As a result, men turn out to be the sources of negative behaviors, suffering, and humiliation. Utt (2014) admitted that society usually experiences violence “primarily at the hands of other men” (para. 31). Expression of power is a distinctive feature of many men, and if they do not have enough resources or possibilities to be strong, violent, and confident, their masculinity is questioned.

Gender Inequality

The intentions of men to prove their skills and underline their masculinity provoke new challenges in the discussion of gender inequality. On the one hand, male aspiration ideas like power, domination, and control are old-fashioned, and boys/men try to demonstrate emotionally restrained behaviors and meet expectations (Stępień, 2017). On the other hand, recent technological and social developments give rise to female power and the possibility to replace male muscles with machines (Kareithi, 2013).

Gender oppression is a real challenge for modern people, both men, and women. Unfortunately, not all straight men are ready to forget about the already accepted traditional view of gender roles and allow a new approach based on partnership and equality to happen (Stępień, 2017). Consequently, men address their aggression as a means to demonstrate their contradictions, and women believe that their aggressive behaviors can provide them with the necessary powers. Being a root of gender inequality, society is the one that suffers from this conflict and an incoming crisis of masculinity.

Mental Health

Suffering and behavioral imbalance are expected outcomes of a masculinity crisis, which results in the creation of new problems, including those with mental health. In his article, Beaulieu (2017) underlined that toxic masculinity is one of the reasons for increased rates of suicide among Canadian men. Similar numbers are observed in many countries, proving that men have a higher tendency to end their lives with suicide compared to men. In fact, masculinity oppression provokes men to hide their feelings, use power for solving their problems, and keep aggressive behaviors, which results in losing touch with real emotions and “noxious shutting down” (Beaulieu, 2017, para. 8).

Sometimes, young boys try to demonstrate the best of their masculinity that they neglect the possibility of negative outcomes that worsen their mental health. Instead of focusing on their problems, males search for new sources of humiliation, demonstrate their ‘true men’ qualities, and forget about the real causes of their concerns. Being unnoticeable today, naïve boy’s resentment may result in a terroristic attack, a rape, or a theft tomorrow.

Future Perspectives

To predict crimes, disappointments, misunderstandings, and hidden harm, modern society focuses on the discussion of masculinity crisis and related oppression. Some people believe that any step taken to remove or change the already offered and deeply rooted male and female stereotypes can break the system and change the way of living. However, Utt (2014) explained that the “problem is not just in masculinity, but in gender as a whole” (para. 11).

Therefore, it is useless to change one or two stereotypes only, “if we really want to end gendered oppression, we have to ‘blow the whole thing up’” (Utt, 2014, para. 11). People must understand that masculinity is not a requirement that cannot be broken. Although it is pleasant to look at an athletic man with clear goals and intentions to build a good future, this attitude should not be imposed on society. People are free to choose their images and make decisions without being afraid of judgment or punishment. At the same time, even the most successful man in good shape with a solid banking account can be criticized, hurt, or even raped.

Conclusion

Masculinity is a complex concept with a number of attitudes and interpretations being developed. It is impossible to create one rule and be sure every man or woman follows it, avoiding social or mental health problems. Oppression does not have boundaries, and it exists until a person allows it to happen. It seems to be easier for a person to look for the cause of a problem somewhere outside and neglect the fact that he or she is a real reason for such a concern.

References

Beaulieu, M. (2017). . CBC Life. Web.

Kareithi, P. J. (2013). . Web.

Stępień, A. (2017). . The Conversation. Web.

Utt, J. (2014). . Everyday Feminism. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 2). Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/masculinity-as-a-gender-oppression-and-inequality/

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"Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality." IvyPanda, 2 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/masculinity-as-a-gender-oppression-and-inequality/.

1. IvyPanda. "Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality." July 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/masculinity-as-a-gender-oppression-and-inequality/.


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IvyPanda. "Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality." July 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/masculinity-as-a-gender-oppression-and-inequality/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality." July 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/masculinity-as-a-gender-oppression-and-inequality/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Masculinity as a Gender Oppression and Inequality'. 2 July.

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