Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Masculinity in America

By: Shanna Cronley

The idea of masculinity has changed throughout history. When I watched the documentary “Tough Guise” it really opened my eyes to the problem of masculinity in American Society. When I think about societal pressures to fit in I automatically think more about women than men. Women are supposed to have this “model physique” which leads to eating disorders and many other issues but after watching the documentary I realized that there is just as much pressure from society on masculinity as there is for femininity.

One of the most interesting parts of the video to me was the connection between the school shootings and the changing ideas of masculinity. “Tough Guise” talks about how the media is always calling these shootings “kids killing kids” but in fact it is not kids it is “boys killing kids.”[1] This idea is important because it shows the impact of the idea of masculinity on the children. The ideas of men being strong and having guns and power is affecting the youth of America and causing them to act out because they do not fit into these ideas. They may not be able to be physically strong but they can show their power through the use of firearms and it is in this ideology that has come about the issues of many school shootings.

“Tough Guise” also talks about how the idea of masculinity has changed over the past 50 years. These changes can be seen in media representations such as superman, batman, pro wrestlers, Star Wars figurines and GI Joe dolls.1 Over the past about 50 years all of these representations have changed to show men having more defined muscles. The image of masculinity is changing within society and therefore men feel that they have to be able to fit into this new definition. This changing view of masculinity adds more pressure for men to be something that may not even be physically possible. When you look at some of the most “manly men” with huge muscles, it is important to realize that many of these men take steroids and go about getting these types of muscles in an unhealthy way. It is also important to realize that it is not physically possible for all men to have that type of body and that having this definition of masculinity can cause many unrealistic expectations for men’s bodies.

[1] Katz , Jackson. "Tough Guise- Violence Media and the Crisis in Masculinity" January 17 2013. Web,

No comments:

Post a Comment