Close Page

Male gender expectations could use some renovating

Opinion
By Christian Stewart
Feb 14, 2017

A push for gender equality has done unspeakable good for our society. Only relatively recently has a woman’s place in our culture received reevaluation (though it was several thousand years overdue). We simply came to accept abysmal standards for women as the norm, because no one thought to question the sage wisdom that came from the Neanderthals. Looking at the treatment of women retrospectively really showcases how willfully ignorant we were. These facts beg the question, is it past-time that we reevaluate gender expectations of males as well?

Back in the day, the only thing that mattered was which knuckle-dragger could swing a club the hardest. Males were just better at killing things, so they got the better end of the cudgel for millennia. Women were seen as punching-bags, sex objects or both at once. This treatment of women was so widespread that the word “sexism” pertains to women almost exclusively.

Armwrestling is a classic way for men to measure masculinity. Michael Crow (left) and Buomkuoth Lual (right) take up the challenge in the match of physical strength. Photo staged by Christian Stewart.Armwrestling is a classic way for men to measure masculinity. Michael Crow (left) and Buomkuoth Lual (right) take up the challenge in the match of physical strength. Photo staged by Christian Stewart.

Sexism towards men is manifested in a different, less immediately offensive way. In Western culture especially, stereotypical masculinity is romanticized. Hollywood is a sucker for the guy who plays the big burly beefcake. The Roman Coliseum that is the entertainment industry demands hyper-virile, volatile, emotionally removed womanizers. Media seems to have mixed up the standards between a “real man” and Batman. Other non-negative aspects have also entered the blueprints for men through media. Common neutral stereotypes include, but are not limited to, athleticism, stoicism, hard-headedness and chiseled six-pack abs. Although the latter attributes are all positive qualities, not all males imbue them. All stereotypes, positive and negative, limit thinking. Why should the football team be considered more “manly” than the chess team? Why does intellect and insight take second place to strength and dexterity?

The biggest advocates of this warped role model are men themselves. Speaking from experience, guys jump on chances to question one another’s masculinity faster than a hyperactive middle-schooler in a trampoline park. Young men are commonly shamed away from behaviors or activities that don’t form-fit a role that Vin Diesel might play. Romantic relationships are often measured in terms of lust rather than terms of love. When guys talk to other guys about prospective romantic interests, they are typically more comfortable revealing sexual desires over emotional connection. “Is she hot?” is one of the first inquiries guys make into the eligibility of a potential partner. This prevalent line of thinking is conducive to the womanizing role model. Real men have “game.”

Emotional sensitivity is seen widely as a sign of “being a wuss,” and it’s commonly discouraged. Being vulnerable and open is counterintuitively seen as weakness; the much manlier alternative to facing emotional situations is clearly hiding behind a wall of insecurity. It is frowned upon for a guy to regularly talk about his emotions, and doing so will invite prompt challenging of his sexual orientation. Swallowing your feelings and being miserable on the inside obviously shows way more testicular fortitude. You have to either stow your baggage or be mocked mercilessly for trying to sort it out.

There are many excellent qualities that could be used to represent a real guy’s guy: diligence, respect, compassion and chivalry, just to name a few. So why does our culture choose man-whoring and hot-headedness as two of its favorite benchmarks? Sure, when mankind was still living in caves and all that mattered was killing things and procreating, man-whoring hotheads stood above the rest. However, it’s high time that our social standards left the caves that we invented them in.

Christian Stewart

- More by this author

Christian Stewart is a student at MidAmerica Nazarene University and a reporter for The Trailblazer.

comments powered by Disqus
In this edition of The Forum, MNU student Brandon Baker and The Trailblazer editor-in-chief Joshua Brisco debate whether or not it is a good idea to get married while in college.

The Forum: Marriage in college?

In this edition of The Forum, MNU student Brandon Baker and The Trailblazer editor-in-chief Joshua Brisco debate whether or not it is a good idea to get married while in college. (To view The Forum at a larger size, click here.)

New head volleyball coach Christina Ludwick stands in front of last season’s Heart of America Conference championship banner. Now, Ludwick says she is seeking to build on last season’s success. Photo by Chace Owen.

MNU hires new head volleyball coach

As the first full-time coaching hire since MNU lost four head coaches this winter, Christina Ludwick is looking to keep Pioneer volleyball set for success.

Police respond to a shooting at Pulse, an Orlando Nightclub, on June 12, 2016. Omar Mateen was classified a terrorist, and no statement on his mental health was provided by the media. Photo by The City of Orlando Police Department, via Wikimedia Commons.

Holding the culture accountable

What happens when terrorists and lone wolves are separated by skin tone.

A graph showing MNU’s financial trends from the past 10 years. Student payments and grants have both increased throughout the past 10 years at MNU. Graphic by Blake Bradford.

Dealing with student debt

The reality facing MNU students and how to come out on top.

 

Video: Cross-breeding flies in MNU biology department

Dr. William Morrison gives insight into a fly cross-breeding experiment and sophomore biology major Carlos Guzman collects flies to determine genetic patterns. 

Donald Trump visits Hershey, Pennsylvania in December 2016 on his post-election victory tour. Trump’s rise through the Republican Party has effectively silenced any moderate voices within the party. Photo by Michael Vadon, via Wikimedia Commons.

New GOP leaves no room for middle ground

The Republican Party is becoming dangerously hostile toward moderate conservatives.

Last year’s SERVEteam Squad 66 operated under the leadership of Kevin Borger and Kayla Cook, both of whom resigned this semester. Ana Brunk and Andrew Cornelius will be returning to the team this summer. Photo by Andrew Cornelius.

SERVEteams left with uncertain leadership

The 2017 summer SERVEteams are currently without leadership following the departure of department head Kevin Borger. The teams are heading into the summer with no replacement.

Shelby Frans bats in the first home game of the season against Washburn University (Kansas). Frans said she admires the fact that interim head coach Rob Wade makes an effort to build a relationship with every player. Photo by Jim Smith.

MNU softball rides coaching carousel

With two official and two interim head coaches in eight months, softball seeks to stabilize in 2017.

The MNU track and field team poses for a photo with its new banners and trophies. Both the men’s and women’s teams won the 2017 Heart of America indoor track and field conference championships in February. Photo courtesy of MNU track and field.

Inside and out, MNU track and field in the running for titles

Track and field finishes the indoor season with two conference titles and four All-Americans.

Videos / See More