Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paging All Men!


The overarching idea between both Crews’ and Theroux’s opinions is men’s self-identity issues, mediated by societies view of what “manliness” constitutes.  In American society, the rugged, rough edged, emotionless man is glorified and the family oriented, kindhearted, involved man is characterized to be feminine which men should avoid at all costs. Theroux explains in his article that career choices such as writing are discriminated against for men, being that it involves emotion-based thoughts. His purpose for writing, like Crews’, is to change the American opinion of male masculinity and the way that a male should act. Crew’s argues against this traditional opinion of masculinity in his interview, stating that men should act the way they desire, and treat women with respect regardless of societies acceptance of them for going against traditional gender roles. Their intended audience is both the male and female populations, possibly mainly the male population, to instill their revolutionary ideas in the minds of men in America. In their arguments they are responding to societies rejection of more lenient male values as well as arguing feminism isn’t simply for women, as it has been traditionally understood. Though their audiences are similar their target intention is slightly different. Crews’ seems to be more adamant on men’s emotional embracement as well as the encouragement for men to treat women as more than sexual objects, whereas Theroux’s calls for greater consideration to equality and less discrimination for men in the workplace based on their career choice. All in all, both men are calling for reform in the American opinion over gender norms in society.

what does it take to be a man

Both of the writers/speakers have the same underlying conversation going on. They are both discussing what it is to be considered a man in out modern culture. Years ago men were made to be stoic strong figures that were as a rock, unshakable, unmovable. The idea went back to cavemen you had to be these qualities to survive but now we dont have to be that way. And we as a society are having trouble realizing that the idea of a man is changing. Men nowadays want to be fathers they want to share. Men have always been this way but now they want to be able to not have to hide it. Men want to be themselves not some preset idea that society has dreamed up over time. Both author's  speak on this Theroux speaks on how the idea of what it is to be a man dosent work. Women want to and should be treated as equals but this idea of manliness isnt compatible with it. The ide of manliness rules that man is in charge his woman follows, for young men that means having multiple women all the time. In either situation a woman has to be conquered and under his thumb. But this concept of being a man is no longer considered right in out culture and both authors agree on this. They each speak on different aspects of it. They are trying to speak to all the men who read or watch what they have to try and change the current mindset of manliness.

Be a Man. Be You.

Crews and Theroux are part of the same conversation. In different ways they are both discussing what manhood was and is today, what it should become, and some implications of the mindset of masculinity. Crews and Theroux are responding to generally similar things - what it is to be a man, but from different perspectives, drawing in different personal experiences.
Crews reveals personal experiences growing up in which he was forced to prove masculinity through physical strength and his ability to exert power over others. He also shares that he has had to evolve his masculinity over time because what characteristics of manhood he values have changed. Crews responds to the pressure of being tough and stoic and superior to be considered a man by stating  that it is okay to accept the emotions that you are feeling, such as fear. Crews views men and manhood as a necessity to society but does not believe in the current “mindset” of masculinity. He says that this mindset is what allows men to feel as if they are better than others. This is the mindset that leads to rape and abuse and this mindset must change.
Theroux’s view on manhood is much more cynical. He despises all things associated with manhood including apathy and sports. Although Theroux seems negative and Crews more embracing, they are both arguing against how society defines a man. Throughout Theroux’s childhood he was forced into sports that he did not enjoy, just so he could begin his journey into manhood. He believes that the culture of physical sports promotes rape culture.
The bigger picture that Crews and Theroux share is that men are being slated to become society’s expectation of what a man is. Men are expected to do things they may not want to do, for example playing sports instead of becoming an artist. Men are expected to be superior to women and that supporting equality somehow makes them less valuable. Men are expected to not feel, not care, and not fear. But most significantly men are expected to keep up with an oppressive fa├žade rather to be who they are.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Men

Crews and Theroux are apart of the same conversation. Do I believe they agree with each other? No I do not. Crews is trying to argue how boys these days have been misled on what being a man is. Being a man is not showing dominance over another human, or having to be tough all the time. He states there should be a "gender purpose" rather than "gender equality".
On the other hand, Theroux is trying to explain that being a man is a terrible thing to be, and all the things men stand for in his mind are repulsive. Theroux states that "the whole idea of manhood in America is pitiful, a little like having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one's entire life". They are both a part of the big picture conversation that is the male gender, but both are saying different things about them. Both crews and Theroux are responding to the media, past experiences, and the world. Most importantly the "They Say" they are conversing with is the world and how they look at men and how a man should be seen.  People are always taught the tradition in their family that they were born in to. All of the bad gender norms about being a man, like being dominant and strong and tough, are not what being a man is really about. I believe being able to be truthful, and loving to all people, especially the people you do not like is what makes a man and a woman.

Now That We're Men!~

I personally believe both Crew and Theroux are having the same conversation. That being said they come at the issue from two completely different angles. In response to society's question of "What makes a man a man?" Theroux attacks the normal view of what manliness is. He bashes sports, blaming them among other things for rape and why manly men are influenced to be horrible people. Seeing manhood as the bane of society, Theroux is extremely pessimistic about the future of manliness. Theroux doesn't really offer a solution to the question, taking the position that people should be people and not necessarily a definitive man or a woman. Crews on the other hand embraces the concept that really being a man in this day and age is viable. He is "optimistic about the state of manhood." Although his view differs from the classic, strong man who doesn't express emotions and is supposed to win the bread, Crews thinks men can still be men in the sense that us guys strive for. He even addresses norms, stating that though men don't have to fall into roles. In his view, genders can serve their purpose while remaining fluid. Contrary to Theroux, Crews thinks a male can be a man without asserting the dominance that leads to rape culture. I understand that Theroux is attacking gender roles in general and I can respect that, but I wholeheartedly agree with Crews. Often times as men, we are in a tough position with the growing animosity towards gender roles conflicting with the pressure to be a man. Crews achieves what Theroux does not in his argument by giving us guys a bit of a solution: That we need to tackle the stump of the problem and not leaf-by-leaf.

Breaking The Silence

I think that our two authors here, Crews and Theroux, are arguing different shades of the same side of the story. Crews is responding to what he's observed in masculine culture and all that he's been a part of through a career in Hollywood and in professional sports and though while Theroux seems to be responding to the same issue, his article seems to want to victimize men a whole lot more. Crews is calling to action, distancing himself from the macho brand of alpha-male culture and telling men that these things are no longer acceptable. Theroux seems to whine about how indoctrinated our young men have become and how otherwise innocent boys are shaped into this complex mess of social stature and personality disorders. Both believe that there is something deep-seated and very corrupt with the way young men are being raised (and in Theroux's case, he believes a similar thing of young women) but to me, Crews takes a much more productive stance towards the issues. Crews's whole motivation behind writing and publishing a book of this nature is that he believes that there is too much silence surrounding the issue- that this deplorable macho culture has reached a cult-like state, with no one daring to question the traditions or let “the other side” in on the secret. Crews equates silence to acceptance in this matter, and claims that he wanted no part accepting such a disgusting societal trend. Theroux, on the other hand, doesn't seem to want to accomplish anything with his article, but rather give his take on things from the perspective of a male writer, an occupation which in the 50's was thought to be part of a woman's field. Theroux doesn't actually so much claim that men are in the wrong, but rather that they are victims of a society that taught them to want to dominate, to control women, and to champion masculinity above all. He believes these expectations and norms have turned many men to beasts and placed the outsiders under all the pressure to become beasts. Theroux's article certainly strives to paint men as victims and doesn't particularly lobby for social change in any way (though it's obviously implied that he is unhappy with the way that things are), but that does not mean that his article isn't important in the scope of things. There are many valid points to consider and lots of information which can be helpful in striving for a society that stresses gender norms less and reaches a point of true social equity among all genders.

Battling Mindsets


After watching the video interview with Terry Crews and reading the essay written by Paul Theroux, I came to the conclusion that both of these men clearly think there is a problem with feminism and masculinity and the way we perceive and differentiate the two. I think that the two men are part of the same conversation although they try to make their points in different ways. While Terry Crews talks about his views using personal experiences and more of a welcoming tone as he urges more men to step up and talk about the problem, Paul Theroux uses a more harsh tone and in some ways is attacking men to make his points about why he hates being a man. I thought the interview with Terry Crews was a good way to try and get more men to speak about the subject and I was easily able to stay focused as well as entertained throughout the whole interview, admittedly I saw that the video was twenty minutes long and thought I would only watch half and call it quits. On the other hand, I did not agree with some of the things that Theroux stated in his essay, particularly about high school sports. Having said that, I think the interview with Crews was an all-around better way to talk about the problems with masculinity and feminism. Terry couldn’t have stated it better when he was saying that not much will change until we can start to see everyone as having equal value. Until then, we’re just cutting the leaves off the tree and waiting for them to grow back.

"Be A Man"

Crew and Theroux both have compelling arguments about what it means to be a man, and the definition of manhood itself. However, I think Theroux was more aggressive in his writing about what he feels about the subject of manhood. Crew went into the video with more of an open approach and I felt more interested in what he had to say and found myself agreeing with him. Theroux just kind of jabbed at stereotypes and how people look at masculinity. Manhood is a very sensitive subject to men, and Theroux makes it almost sound silly in his article. Comparing motherhood to manhood, talking about standards, reasons why boys relate manhood to cowboys is just silly. Crew took the subject with much more grace and I think what he had to say was also more impactful. The larger picture that they were both aiming at holds a common ground, because I do think they both feel something should be adjusted or said to make things clearer, but the approaches were different and the outcome of each of their speeches had different results.

The Mindset of Manhood

I believe Crew and Theroux are a part of the same conversation, but in two different viewpoints. They are responding to the idea of what many men believe manhood and masculinity are and how these ideas have been portrayed in our society. Crew gives a more optimistic view on being a man over Theroux but still states what is wrong with the idea of masculinity. Crew explains his view that "everyone is necessary" and "men and women should be equal". His idea of "gender purposes" shows that men and women are both needed in our society. He supports feminism and is actively striving for equality for women. Men supporting gender equality can help influence other men to no longer feel superior to women. Theroux talks more about his disgust of what is expected of a young man in society's eyes and the hate he has for being a man. He perceives being told to "be a man" is being told to "be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient and soldierly, and stop thinking." These are things off of what many fathers tell their son when they are young and shaping their personalities. "Crying is for girls!" "Man up." Ideas that men do not have feelings leads to a build-up of emotions and often, violence. Both men agree that manliness implies superiority to women, children, and men who are not known as manly. Crew connects with Theroux when he talks about the mindset of manliness and how it encourages men to take advantage of many situations and people. Men with this mindset tend to think that they are in-charge and own lesser people/things because of their manliness which leads to rape and violence. Many men in the media often express this. They believe that because they are men in the spotlight they are superior to others. The main idea that both men are striving towards is that manliness is not what it should be. It should be about being a better man. As Crew explains it as "the fork in the road" for manhood. The choice of either having the basic, old-fashioned manliness or to see how it can be destructive to society and relationships.

Who Are We? MEN! What Do We Want? TO BE MANLY!

You could definitely say that Crews and Theroux are apart of the same conversation. Both men are discussing the issue that men are held to this stupid standard of “being a man”. Terry Crews is responding to the problem of men’s gender roles. Crews goes on about how men are constantly being held to this gender standard of “manliness” and “manhood”. Crews touches on how a lot of men think they are more valuable than women because that’s just the way society has been forever. Men have to be strong providers, manly, protective, and brave. Or so society is making us believe. These kinds of gender roles are what make women think we are inferior. Crews says that everyone is valuable in themselves; so the moment we all accept ourselves as valuable equals is the moment that gender roles won’t be such a dilemma.
Paul Theroux very negatively responds to men and how they are wrongly being taught how to grow up into manly men who drink beer, and watch football. Theroux also touches on how women are brought up in the same sense: Being told to ask “Do you like my dress?” and to be “ladylike”. Even today, in 2015, we are dealing with (not as intensely) the same gender roles we dealt with hundreds of years ago. Theroux say “I found it impossible to admit to myself that I wanted to be a writer. It was my guilty secret, because being a writer was incompatible with being a man”. Why do men have to feel like this? Why is this SO wrong? Because its been a standard for men to do “manly” jobs and hobbies. I think it’s about time gender roles don’t play such a dense part in society.


Masculinity


I think Theroux and Crews are very much apart of the same conversation. Both authors analyze what “masculinity” consists of. Crews explains himself in a strong yet gentle tone whereas Theroux writes in more of a disgusted tone. Regardless, they both seem to think very alike along the lines of the expectations men are “supposed” to demonstrate to be considered a man. Crews states, “when men are scared, they wont say it” and I think this statement is incredibly true. Men are often times taught by their father that they cannot show when they’re scared or weak because that would expose them. Men are raised thinking they are superior to women and I think that is primarily what leads to rape and abuse. Crews and Theroux are responding to the ways masculinity is wrongly projected and shown. Crews explains every man just wants intimacy and how sex is not intimacy. Theroux talks about how the President of the United States can be seen dressed like a cowboy on the weekends and he states, “it is both a measure of his insecurity and his willingness to please”. I think this ties right back into what Crews was saying. Whether it’s the President dressing like a cowboy or teenage boys trying to replace intimacy with sex, it goes to show how distorted the idea of masculinity is. Men shouldn’t have to be like this. As Crews talks about a couple of times, people need to focus on “gender purposes” rather than gender norms. His explanation about him and his wife is a perfect example. He illustrates how the relationship between him and his wife is equal. I think this is incredibly important because at the beginning he explains that feminism does not mean women are better than men. Just as women are no better than men, men are no better than women. This is a much harder concept to get across though. Crews also states, “it’s not battling people, it’s battling mindsets”, and honestly that’s all that it comes down to. If people were to realize they’re no more valuable than others, this idea of gender roles would disappear.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fetishism

The Male Myth by Paul Theroux and Terry Crew's "Manhood" interview both have the same theories in one. Feminism is a big problem today in society. As a young man in todays society I think every guy goes through this as we grow up. Our fathers were brought up a certain way, his father before him and so forth. Saying that now its different than it was before, we are raised to be better men than our fathers, or at least some of us. Men nowadays simply think they are better than women because they are men. The problem is that we blame femininity on our problems. So I strongly believe in both Theroux and Crews opinions of manhood. Crews believes there is a "fork in a mans road". That many are confused to be the tough guy or to be the soft guy. But he simply thinks we should be who we are and take the mask off. Theroux begins to say that he dislikes being a man, "like having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one's entire life."  The expression "be a man!" strikes every guy in a hurtful or insulting way. That in manhood its not okay to cry, or to be scared. We are men, we are built to last, to endure what ever is in our way. I agree with them on that some of us aren't. Some of us guys aren't made to build skyscrapers or to fix that truck engine. It just isn't in the cards for some. Crews and Theroux are responding to the fact that men think its okay to take what they want because they like to "WIN", and its not. because with that mentality comes dark thoughts like sexual harassment, rape, or even murder. Crews continues to say that "were battling a mindset, not men." Crews fights for gender-equality and Theroux just says that to society you're not a man till you prove others you are first.

Its all about the kids...

Author Caitlin Moran in her book, How to Be a Woman presents motherhood in an extremely negative light. In her hypocritical opinion women are throwing away their most youthful, exciting, and lively days to sit at home with a baby on her hip in the nursery. She seems to state that women simply cannot have it all and be happy with children; essentially it is a choice of throwing away youth and beauty, or doing what you want to do.  She states that women simply want to have kids because it is what has been programed into us as well as that when women don’t want children they are looked at in a way to make them feel as if they just said they would murder a puppy. Many women I feel don’t have her same mentality, even those with careers. She focuses on the negative aspects of child bearing, having to put the career on hold and losing sleep at night, though there is a distinct other side of the story which should be told as well. These are things that maybe she didn’t realize during her child rearing years that truly make being a mother worth it, and to this side of the opinion, she isn’t being fair.  The pride and joy of being a mother is assisting another human in becoming the best they can be in the parents’ own image, and experiencing the world with them.


An Understandable Opinion, but Only That

Caitlin Moran's chapter on "Why You Shouldn't Have Children" makes a strong claim with a good backing but at times overreaches and becomes hypocritical in a sense. Moran speaks from experience in this piece, being a successful working woman and eventually a mother, and crafts a rather vivid picture of how she interpret's society's expectations for women to have children. Most of the support in this piece is anecdotal yet agreeable- Even as a teenage male I can recognize many of the social trends she points out. While that may not serve as hard proof, it can be considered a backbone to her argument as a whole. In essence, the purpose of this chapter is to point out the extreme stigma around women who choose not to have children and why it may be a better choice for many women to abstain from childbearing. Moran explains that many women are pressured to sacrifice their working and creative lives when they should be at their peak in most aspects of life- their health, looks, productivity and energy, etc. In expanding upon this stigma, Moran discusses the fact that many people believe giving birth and raising a child is some sort of rite of passage, a womanly experience that fulfills and completes a person. Quick to denounce this, she claims the same sort of fulfillment can be found through many other means in life and that having a child is not the only way to fill a void in one's sense of self. Where I think Moran slips is in her demeanor towards the act of child rearing. To her credit, she does believe that anyone who wants to have a child is justified and that having a child may in fact be fulfilling and rewarding for many. However, she clearly holds some semblance of a grudge towards either the decisions that led her to have children or her children themselves. She paints what I see as a biased picture of raising a child, one of regret and bitterness and pandas getting shot in the face. Her attitude on this matter quickly becomes condescending (How could anyone want to give up so much for this?) and a little too self-righteous. While I may disagree, I don't actually think this detracts too much from her piece, in fact, I think it may be a fitting view for the rest of her argument. Since this whole chapter is really just based on casual observations of societal trends, I can't nitpick too much for a little bit of cynicism on her end. Still, this section lacks any sort of hard evidence or statistics (which is potentially okay!) and should be treated as a simple opinion piece.

Motherhood Doesn't Make a Woman

In this excerpt from How To Be a Woman, Moran argues that women should only have babies if they want to and that women can gain wisdom through other life experiences besides being a mother.To prove this she shares personal experiences, discusses the environment effect of reproducing and evaluates the lives and success of others. Her first experience is when her Editor requests more information about when her interviewees will have children. Because the question is always “when” and not “if”, it proves that society expects all women to have children. This leads to a bigger question - when will you willingly end your career. Her next experience is when she describes raising her new born. From her personal experience with motherhood, she felt removed from the world around her and that her morals and other important things were pushed to the side to make room for baby. She felt that she was unable to contribute to society the way she did before, and goes further to suggest that society would suffer if doctors and scientists could not contribute due to motherhood. Reproducing also has a negative effect on the environment which Moran uses as evidence to further prove that not everyone should be pressured to have a child. The expectation is for all women to have babies but rarely does society take into consideration all of the resources that each child will use up. Moran illuminates the double standard between men and women when it comes to having children. She  reveals how she was never asked to question her male interviewees about when they would have kids. She also discusses how men such as Van Gogh and Batman have been able to be very successful without children. She also uses Coco Chanel as an example. She was a very successful woman who achieved many things without motherhood defining her. I feel as if Moran adequately supports her claims through the evidence that she provides throughout the text.