’s A New Vision Of Masculinity A Summary Essay, Research Paper
Cooper Thompson, in his article “A new Vision of Masculinity”, discusses the stereotypical definition of masculinity. He demonstrates that there are good qualities in both male and female; he insists that boys should learn both qualities and combine them properly to from “new masculinity.”
Thompson opens the article with his experience in a suburban high school as a guest speaker. In the class discussion, he learns that the most degrading insult for boys is being called a “fag,” because the word “fag” explains that he does not have masculine qualities. He indicates that high school students associate masculinity with “stereotypic definition of strength”(77). Yet, he shows that this strength is only a limited definition of strength because this strength is based on dominance by disgracing inferior people. Thompson supports his notion by inserting the introduction “Reweaving the Web of Life” by Pam McAllister.
The author depicts the traditional definitions of masculinity and problems with that. “Traditional definitions of masculinity include attributes such as independence, pride, resiliency, self-control, and physical strength.”(78) Sometimes masculinity is related to violence; violence became the tool maintaining their masculinity among boys. Then, he mentions the two most critical socializing forces in a boy’s life: homophobia and misogyny. He explains that homophobia, hatred of feminine qualities in men, and misogyny, hatred of feminine qualities in women, put pressure on them to avoid femininity, even good qualities of femininity.
Then, he argues the negative side of the “traditional view of masculinity.” He claims that believing in masculinity is being tough, daring and aggressive can put great pressure on boys. Thompson explains that this false view not only creates emotional stress but also increase chances of physical injury since so many boys are competing to be the toughest one. In contrast Thompson admires nurturance, a quality not valued because it is not “a quality perceived as masculine.” He points out that this quality decreases emotional gap and guides people to better interpersonal relationship.
The author states that many human traits are determined by both environmental and biological factors. Since environmental factors are potent enough to prevail over biological factors, boys of the twentieth century should learn about “being a man in a modern world.” For example, they should learn to accept their vulnerability, to be gentle and cooperative, and to accept feminine qualities. However, the author suggested that keeping positive qualities of masculinity, such as courage and independence, is also very crucial. “Where will this change in socialization occur?” Thompson mentions that in a boy’s first few years, his learning about masculinity comes from the influences of parents, siblings or television. And he points out that competitive school sports are the major problem. School athletics learn to win regardless of the cost to themselves or their opponents. And because school athletics are a “microcosm of the socialization of male value,” boys do not have opportunity to learn and accept feminine quality.
Thompson proposes that boys of this generation shall learn to accept feminine quality while keeping good phases of traditional masculinity. The author expresses this as the “new tradition.”
Finally Cooper Thompson explains that the “traditional definition of masculinity” has some good sides such as independence or courage. Yet, in some extreme case it may create mental and even physical agony. Therefore, he suggests that boys shall accept and learn positive aspects of femininity. In addition, he offers a proposal that if maleness and femaleness are equally valued, boys no longer will fight to prove their masculinity.