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Masculinity At Its Straightest

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The misguided perception of masculinity is the absence of anything remotely homosexual. In Michael Kimmel’s novel Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men he discusses the contradictions of masculinity and what it takes to be seen as a real men. In American, middle class white society, manhood is more than beards and sleeping around with women, it is being as far away from feminine as allowed. The most foreign idea to most would be to consider a gay man to be “manly.” This unfathomable idea is what spurs on homophobia and gives homosexuality a foul name. To be called a “sissy” or “faggot” is worse than being called a “bastard” or “dick.” Shaking a man of his masculinity and naming him a woman psychologically destroys a man. Guyland best describes this as, “Homophobia—the fear that people might misperceive you as gay—is the animating fear of American guys’ masculinity. It’s what lies underneath the crazy, risk-taking behaviors practiced by boys of all ages, what drives the fear that other guys will see you as weak, unmanly, frightened” (Guyland 50). This kind of methodology has been growing for generations, seen mostly in high schools as young boys get physically tortured or beaten for effeminate behavior. The lack of acceptance in culture is increasingly appalling for all age groups. It is a form of conformity of culture as psychologist Karen Franklin discusses:

Assaults on homosexuals and other individuals who deviate from sex role norms are viewed as a learned form of social control of deviance rather than a defensive response to personal threat ... in other words, through heterosexism, any male who refuses to accept the dominant culture's assignment of appropriate masculine behavior is labeled early on as a “sissy” ...

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...people from being considered masculine. All sexualities have the capability of masculinity, but just not all choose to follow the path of aggression and strength.

Works Cited

Franklin, Karen. "Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays." PBS. WGBH educational

foundation, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2011.

"Gay Men and Masculinity." MyOutSpirit. N.p., 19 Mar. 2006. Web. 10 Dec. 2011.

"Gay Teens Bear Burden of Homophobia." Lambda.org. American Society of Adolescent

Psychiatry, 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2011.

Kimmell, Michael. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. New York City:

HarperCollins Publishers, 2008.

Kimmell, Michael. Manhood in America. New York City: Simon and Schuster, 1996. 284.

Stevens, Tom. "Fraternity Initiations - The Elephant Walk." Liberty Lion. N.p., 13 Jan. 2011.

Web. 10 Dec. 2011.
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