Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wealthy, Handsome, Strong, Packing Endless Hard-Ons: The Impossible Ideals Men Are Expected to Meet

via AlterNet, By Greta Christina

Historically, men in our community are considered "less of a man" because we choose to romantically lay aside other men. As we continue the fight to break that stereotype, we must also fight alongside our heterosexual counterparts against messages of super fit,"hyper-masculine" robots that are being presented as "real men" in American culture. Read the article below.

 A recent article about male fitness models has made me vividly conscious of how the expectations of masculinity aren't just rigid or narrow. They are impossible. They are, quite literally, unattainable.

 But this ideal of masculinity isn't just difficult to achieve. It isn't just narrow; it isn't just rigid; it isn't just out of reach for some or even most men. It is, quite literally, unattainable. Even the fitness models themselves can't attain it: not without nightmarish physical ordeals, camera tricks and Photoshop. It is a carrot being dangled in front of a donkey -- which the donkey will never, ever get to eat.

We're not just talking about the world of fitness modeling, either. From weight loss products to underwear ads to cosmetic surgery to supposedly helpful books of advice on how to make yourself tolerably appealing to the opposite sex, men are being increasingly bombarded with messages about what Real Men are supposed to look like. It's not surprising that, among men, reported rates of anorexia nervosa, anorexia athletica, and other forms of disordered eating and body dysmorphia are on the rise.

And we're not just talking about physical ideals of masculinity. We're talking about cultural ideals. Sexual ideals. Economic ideals. Emotional ideals.

Sexuality educator Dr. Charlie Glickman has written a great deal (and teaches workshops) about male gender expectations, and what he calls "the performance of masculinity." And a two-part series he recently wrote crystallized this idea for me. He was talking about the "box" of masculinity.

The ideas we have in American culture about what a "real man" is and does. You know: strong, competitive, dominant, wealthy, good at fixing machinery, lots of sexual partners enjoys sports, big dick that gets hard on demand. You know the drill.


Read more.

1 comment:

  1. Mental health needs advocacy http://www.nami.org/ using the model developed advocating about HIV/AIDS . They are two areas of health prevention very closely related.

    ReplyDelete

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