Stereotypes Essay, Research Paper
Men in today?s society are in trouble. The question has sometimes been asked, is there a macho-man stereotype plaguing today?s man? An invisible boundary keeping men back, forcing them to conform to society?s expectations? A stereotype ridiculing those who dare disobey the imaginary commandments they are set to follow? Unfortunately there are subtle, yet noticeable hints of male stereotype in every aspect of society; from real life events, to literature and media.
The basic fact that men are expected to support the family and be the real bread earners is probably the most affluential aspect of the macho-man stereotype. The macho man myth stems from our basic childhood upbringing in society. Our parents can not give us shelter from these implicit stereotypes, because they are part of the society that helped raise such idealism. In their childhood, it was the man?s job to be the sole provider of the household. The wife would stay home, raise the family, and tend to the man of the house.
The macho-man myth can be classified as a gender stereotype. Consequently, males and even females, are subject to such gender stereotypes at birth. When we hear that a friend is having a baby, our fist question is likely to be ?is it a boy or a girl?? As soon as the baby?s gender is known the world starts to socialize the child into male or female roles. We buy the baby girl dolls and stuffed animals, and purchase action figures and baseball gloves for the baby boy. The girl?s room is painted in acute pink design, while the boy gets blue wallpaper. It is from birth that males are taught the invisible handbook on how to be a macho-man.
Even though boys are bombarded with large doses of masculinity during their childhood, it is not until high school that the importance of male dominance appears. During high school years, the big muscular jocks are always more desired by women. While the smaller, ?nerdy? types are left alone in a shadow of darkness- as if they don?t exist. Being a football player and showing off your masculinity on the field is the admirable thing to do. A boy could gains respect from his peers if he is the biggest and strongest on the block.
Subtle, yet powerful hints of male stereotyping can be found in one particular essay by Frank Pittman. In one sentence he makes references to male genital size and how it is never big enough. ?A boys penis seems so enormous and hard to hide, far too big but too small, always to small? (Pittman, 82). Another quite similar phrase used in Pittman?s essay implicates the importance of male physique in today?s world. ?The muscles bulge-though never enough?(Pittman 82). These are two examples of how males are expected to fit the macho-man role of the perfect body. How strength and power on the outside affect how the male himself feels and how others in society judge that male. Almost all men see bringing home a healthy salary as an obligation, not an opinion. A man sees himself as having three slightly different options (than women), work full time, work full time, or work full time. (Pittman 84) This particular quote examines how men are expected by society, and by themselves, to achieve a higher status than women in the work place.
Media also plays a large role in advocating the macho-man stereotype. Media however provokes subconscious thoughts in its viewers of what a man should be. The constant exposure of images such as the millionaire businessmen with the killer bodies bombard every individual in society. It is this constant exposure that digs a deep mold into many individuals? minds, consciously or not. Shows such as Baywatch display the typical strength and boldness of males in their characters. Billboards, magazines, and television mostly enforce the physique end of the macho man stereotype. Because media has become such a large part of our society, it is impossible for any single person not to be influenced by stereotypes.
How can our society ever break free from stereotypes such as the macho-man myth, if even the basic elementary dictionary definition of masculinity is tainted with stereotypical views, ?having qualities traditional ascribed to a man, as strength and boldness (Webster 833). As we can see, the macho-man myth is alive and well in today?s society. Escape from such a predetermined stereotype is in the hands of our society, and our society alone.