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Men and Masculinity


Men express identification ... Most men in our culture have been followers and not leaders, as ... for respect has often led to distorted images of other men ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Men and Masculinity

Men and Masculinity
  • Male Friendship and Other Social Relationships

What Men Desire
  • Men have the desire to be with other men and
    women in positive emotional and instrumental ways
  • Men express identification with each other
  • Hope for success, respect, and significant
    attachments to groups
  • Enact manly qualities, such as courage,
    determination, goal-orientation, hard work, and

Problems of Masculinity
  • Most men in our culture have been followers and
    not leaders, as Emerson said, "living lives of
    quiet desperation." This desperation has often
    resulted in acting out real social and
    psychological deprivations, and acting out
    distortions, such as alcoholism and domestic

Problems of Masculinity
  • The striving for success directly linked to
    stress, and the high rate of cardio-vascular
    disease among men
  • The striving for respect has often led to
    distorted images of other men
  • homophobic remarks and violence
  • distorted images of women in language, through
    discrimination and sexualized violence
  • Loneliness

The Double-Edge
  • Our desire for male friendships that embody
    complete trust that other men will not take
    advantage of our vulnerabilities
  • The competing demand to be
  • the self-reliant loner
  • the winner
  • emotionally strong and hard

Men In Groups
  • Men in groups are often a source of
  • conflict, violence, substance abuse, and ugly
    sexist and sexual behavior
  • Often this is acted out through
  • use of violence against oneself and against
    others -- physical abuse of others, substance
    abuse, irresponsible sex and risk-taking behavior
  • This creates a cycle of fear in women, and a
    cycle of self-destruction in men

Masculinity is a Test
  • Themes
  • "the flight from the feminine
  • defense of masculine turf
  • deny fearing other men
  • men fear being exposed as a sissy
  • fear being unmasked as feminine
  • constant tests of manhood

The Male Sex Role
  • 1. "NO SISSY STUFF!" -- One may never do
    anything that even remotely suggests femininity.
    Masculinity is the RELENTLESS repudiation of the
  • 2. "BE A BIG WHEEL" -- Masculinity is measured
    by power, success, wealth and status.
  • 3. "BE A STURDY OAK" -- Masculinity depends on
    remaining calm and reliable in a crisis, holding
    emotions in check. In fact, proving you're a man
    depends upon never showing your emotions at all
    (except anger).
  • 4. "GIVE EM HELL" -- Exude a aura of manly
    daring and aggression. Go for it. Take risks.

Problems with the Model
  • No opportunity to think critically about the
    sexist model of masculinity
  • the strong offense turns out to be a shaky
  • imagined security is a source of insecurity
  • expression of confidence is often bluster, and
    is actually driven by fear

Plecks Paradox
  • Men have power, but most men experience
    powerlessness in much of their lives
  • Men do not recognize the destruction that we
    have caused ourselves or others need to
    understand how we oppress ourselves
  • The "male mystique" makes it difficult to have
    loving male friendship and bonding -- it turns
    men permanently against one another

Shame and Male Loyalty
  • Shame leads to silence
  • To preserve the distorted male bond
  • men often resort to denial and distortion of
    themselves in defense of masculinity
  • men often deny the "other" and render them
  • men together profess loyalty to the distorted
    ideal of masculinity, and simultaneously, because
    embedded in it is fear of other men, find
    themselves in opposition to each other!

Taking Action
  • Reverse the standard
  • be critical rather than just going along
  • speak out instead of remaining silent
  • Understand the linkage of domination to
    masculinity that pits each man against each other

Hobart Leaders Can
  • take a stand against these distortions
  • express new models
  • generate more positive committed friendships
  • generate more enriching social relationships
  • become better communicators and better listeners
  • teach others how to create groups and friendships
    that help men to feel truly secure in themselves
    and their manhood

Worthy Goals
  • exhibit gentle-manliness
  • unmask your selves, act funny, be silly, and be
    in a relationship of care with one another
  • enhanced and enriched relationships
  • become more rounded, less lonely, and less

Horizon Thinking
  • Embrace this opportunity for leadership
  • Create new models of masculinities
  • Deepen your relationships with each other and
    the women of William Smith
  • Be active in the community, do good work, help
    others, and be a source of healing
  • Reclaim brotherhood, fatherhood, and reinvent
    what it means to be a man

Creating Masculinities
  • Men can create and sustain masculinities that
  • celebrate deepening friendships
  • celebrate male variety
  • create expressions of lasting and humane value
  • create bonds that rest on the worthy foundations
    of respect and care
  • Be proud to be a Hobart Man!
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