“Don’t be a pussy.”

American society today is arguably much more accepting of the idea of a feminine male and masculine female than it was 50 years ago. That doesn’t mean it isn’t immune from judgement and scorn in modern society today. Men are still expected to follow certain standards in society that will deem them as true, masculine beings that deserve the title of a “man.” My parents raised me to follow those values, and although I’ve had schooling from classes like MACS 320 and the readings from week 8. that suggests otherwise, the society I grew up in and still live in today suggests I follow this rigid social structure in order to fit in.  

So what are the stereotypes we associate with males and females? Men are generally thought to be intelligent beings that seldom show their feelings, are allowed to have multiple partners and drink alcohol while being in charge of virtually everything in their society. Women are thought to be submissive, ignorant, and simply a consumer of culture and products that takes care of their houses/children. These concepts are explored deeper in the Messner and Kearney readings.

The biggest incident that happened this week was when a male friend of mine was visibly crying and trying to hide back his tears when I went to his apartment last Monday. Apparently his girlfriend had broken up with him, so I tried to comfort him about his issue, and muttered out, “Come on man, you’re a man, men don’t cry.” I felt a sense of guilt and regret immediately after saying that sentence. Not only was I not helping my friend feel better, I was trying to interpellate the patriarchal idea of men being emotionless beings that toughed things out instead of expressing their feelings. What made it worse was when his roommate followed up with another comment to try to make light of the situation, jokingly saying, “Yeah, don’t be a pussy dude.”

This discourse is a perfect way to interpellate the ideology of the power of men over women in our patriarchal society. Men should be in charge of their emotions and “their women’s” emotions. Being assertive and dominant are characteristics of power and confidence, and crying or expressing your feelings would essentially invalid your rights and existence as a masculine male figure. This is referenced in the Messner reading.

“Although these ads advocate keeping one’s emotional distance from women, a commitment to heterosexuality always carries the potential for developing actual relationships with women. The few ads that depict real women portray them consistently as signs of danger to individual men and to the male group. The ads imply that what men really want is sex (or at least titillation), a cold beer, and some laughs with the guys. Girlfriends and wives are undesirable because they push men to talk about feelings and demonstrate commitment to a relationship.” (Messner, 2005.)

We may have never mentioned this in class, but the “Dos Equis” beer commercial complements this quote relatively well. Beer allows men to escape their feelings and view women as objects of sex. I may be reaching slightly, but I think the photo above illustrates that idea quite well. The older gentleman in the middle has the undivided attention of the younger women sitting beside him while the beer is pointing directly at his face, almost implying that it is what gives him the power to control those women.

The screening of  “Mad Men” in class on Wednesday was a prime example of the roles of hegemonic femininity and masculinity. All the executives were men, and women were usually the secretaries or assistants that the men viewed as sex objects. Women were to play dumb and do everything that the men wanted them to do, and men were supposed to get what they wanted. It was definitely a chink in the armor of Don’s masculine ego when he had to meet with a business partner who was a women. He even went so far as to say “I won’t let a woman speak to me like this.”  I enjoyed the episode, and it definitely gave a couple of chuckles here and there. A part of me thought that this type of behavior is a thing of the past, and then I thought about corporate America today, and I don’t think much has really changed. Is the Capitalistic world of advertising and business making men more misogynistic? If I dream of becoming a successful businessman, will I end up doing things like Pete Campbell or Donald Trump? This is what society and the media seems to be drilling in my head as a male. If there’s anything I’ve learned about masculinity in the media, it’s to be an asshole towards women, don’t show emotion and drink beers with your pals to suppress your emotions if you have any, then you will be the perfect, successful man that society want you to be.

Reference List

Weiner, Matthew, Creator. Madmen. John Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser. 2007. Lionsgate Television, 2007.

Messner, M. Montez de Oca, J. Author. “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events.” 2005. Journal of Women in Culture and Society: University of Chicago 2005.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: