Throughout the studies of gender, sexuality, and pop culture, it’s apparent that there are numerous stances that can be taken within these concepts. Due to ever-changing literature dealing with social construct, compelling arguments can be found and analyzed. Throughout three texts, and one film screening, the argument is that of masculinity versus femininity.
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There seems to be a gap of attention being paid to masculinity and the problems it prevails; femininity is more so in the spotlight which causes a sense of inequality rather than the much strived for, equality. In the readings, Masculinity, Beyonce Feminism Night to his Day, and the film, The Last Jedi, there are certain aspects of each where they can be compared and contrasted between one another. I suggest that there are standards not being met when it comes to masculinity, and the preconceived notions of such. Masculinity and femininity are both problematic discourses in society today, and it’s important to focus on both aspects in the same light.
In the reading Masculinity, Kenneth Mackinnon argues masculinity is not talked about as much as femininity. When one compares the movements towards gender equality, they are more geared towards the advancement of women rather than men; this is already a signifier that manliness and masculinity is overlooked in some manner. The fair pay act, the #MeToo movement, and an abundance of women’s rights protests all represent acts pushing for women’s rights, without consideration for men’s rights. Perhaps this is not as surprising as it first appears, in that there is no men’s movement comparable to feminism that does not compartmentalize men or else that achieves comparable intellectual status (Mackinnon 2003, p. 48). Mackinnon stays true to the fact that masculinity is just as difficult and problematic as femininity; however, it seems to be overlooked because of the increase in feminist literary works in the present day. Masculinity is implicit, meaning it is implied, but never directly stated. It can be challenged through toxic masculinity that men feel there are barriers between being emotional and being strong, causing a masculinity crisis. The crisis at hand is that male dominance is questioned as are the rights admitted to men merely on the basis of sex as a result of the feminist movement. Mackinnon explains the notion that learning ‘to be a man’ doesn’t occur naturally or biologically, but to be the result of struggle (Mackinnon, 2003, p. 48). For instance, being the family breadwinner is not something that a man is biologically given, but an idea learned through society that makes one more manly. Focusing on more contingencies that men face, male anxiety and emotional illiteracy are those which aren’t discussed deeply. Men become anxious because they don’t want to betray the idea of what it means to be masculine, which causes an immense amount of pressure in their identity.
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