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The Masculine Mandate

Women populate our military, entertainment industry, blue-collar factory floors, boutiques, salons, and just about every other professional role in American culture. There are powerful female politicians, rock stars, and athletes. Look just about anywhere and one can easily find women filling nearly every position that modern society has to offer. Examine the same landscape from a masculine perspective, however, and the story quickly becomes much different. Very few men are able to take on social roles stereotypically categorized as feminine without running the risk of being labeled as “gay” or “sissy.” If a woman aspires to become a law enforcement officer, society applauds her (as they should), but if a male endeavors to crochet or provide services as a flight attendant for a living, society looks upon his unorthodox election with a suspicious eye, as if to inquire “Isn’t that a lady’s job?”

It is apparent that this socio-cultural stigma has been an unintended effect of the women’s rights movement and the subsequent widespread embracing of feminist values as a nation. Of course, both of these things were good, much-needed paradigm shifts; they allowed women to fill roles previously restricted to males only, in voting booths and barracks and cockpits across the nation. Needless to say, there has never been a men’s rights movement - the very thought is laughably absurd. After all, men have successfully dominated nearly every aspect of power in nearly every culture since the dawn of civilization. Because of this, masculinity has become much to hyperbolic and overvalued, being expected of every male. The same level of exaggerated femininity has not been expected of women since their social liberation in the 20th century, hence the hypocrisy of the present sociological climate.

Women do not risk alienation from their peers if they pursue a career as a surgeon or astronaut, but men who seek to fill traditionally feminine roles, such as hair-dresser or fashion consultant, face ridicule and homophobic epithets, despite the fact that most of these men aren’t even gay!

The stigma goes far beyond the workplace. Just take a stroll down the halls of any American high school and one will instantly notice the reprehensible treatment of the male population who possesses feminine mannerisms. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other, gesticulating just a bit too flamboyantly, or wearing pastels is enough to warrant despicable verbal abuse and physical harassment by other, more “manly”, students, most of who are so ignorant that they cannot recognize the fact that just because someone fails to look like a NFL player, doesn’t mean that he is a homosexual. In stark contrast, the female students who play sports, wear cut-up jeans, and smoke while hanging out with their usual entourage of male companions, are revered. Incredibly enough, no one seems to notice this flagrant hypocrisy.

All in all, this a truly a silly issue to begin with. Who cares if a man wants to paint nails for a living, shave his legs, or blog about fashion? No possible harm can come from it. This has been proven in that women have been filling traditionally masculine roles in society for the past 50 years, and there has yet to be any negative fallout. More or less: lighten up. The roles men choose to fill should not be determined by societal pressure or prejudicially developed norms, but rather solely by the individual alone.



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