This is a comment by Geeky Gentleman on the post “Open Thread: Can Men Be Objectified?“
“Men can and are objectified like women are (both sexually and culturally). It just isn’t discussed as much in male culture due to male social and gender norms. Just like you can see the objectification of women in male oriented media (i.e. action movies, porn, etc.), you can also see this same kind of thing in female oriented media (dramas, romance novels, etc.). The main difference between how men and women objectify is that men objectify primarily on a visual basis, and women objectify primarily on an emotional basis.
“I am fairly omnivorous when comes to my consumption of media and especially so when it comes to movies and television shows I have seen nearly everything. And there are several different archetypes I have encountered in female oriented media that are the male equivalent to the damsel, mother, and seductress archetypes. The kind of one characters that are groan inducing and sometimes rather offensive.
“The names for these archetypes vary depending on the media, but for this posting I will use the ones listed below:
- The Wounded Lion – This the type of character that is usually ‘broken’ in some way. His wife/child died (usually tragically), he has emotional/psychological scarring from an event/person in his past, or some other form of dysfunction that causes him to lash out at the heroine because they trigger memories of the trauma for some reason. Only through the help of the heroine can he be “fixed”. Never mind that in real life these kind of men need to get psychological counseling and treatment, not to be enabled into a codependent relationship that could eventually become abusive.
- The Scoundrel – The classic ‘bad boy’ character that is either physically handsome or charismatic/charming. The kind of character that tends to either fluster or infuriate the heroine with their manchild antics, or borderline dangerous behavior. By falling in love with the heroine she can change them into a more mature and/or honest man. In real life however these men are usually emotionally manipulative and/or physically abusive. The real and deep personality changes needed to reform the”knuckle-dragging man-ape” in him usually takes several years to take place rather than a few weeks or months commonly portrayed in the movies.
- The Gentleman – Also known as the ‘knight in shining armor’ is always polite, even tempered, and knows exactly what to say. He always seems to know what the heroine needs, and seems damn near psychic in knowing when to swoop in and protect the heroine from a malefactor, protect her from a financial hardship, or be the only person to be nice to heroine and treat her with respect when everyone around her marginalizes or cuts her down because of her race/class/profession.
“In real life this usually very rare since the changing social and gender norms of our culture (something that I personally feel is needful) make it difficult to be a ‘gentleman’ without being accused of being being patronizing or labeled as a male chauvinist. Not to mention that to be able to ‘ride in and save the damsel’ more than once or twice would require a level of providence that beggars belief, or a level of attention to the heroines daily life that is obsessive to the point of being stalkerish.
“The reasons why men don’t complain about these kind of portrayals of our gender vary, but the major reasons are that:
- As men we are socialized around the values of strength and stoicism. Expressing feelings (in this case about portrayals of gender) in a forum to does not explicit ask or make okay that expression tends to be considered whining and gives the impression of weakness.
- Given our culture’s history of double standards regarding gender expectations and gender inequality in general; it is difficult to complain about male objectification without be accused of trying to defend “male privilege”.
- And in all honesty, turnabout is fair play. If we as men want to keep our Marilyn Monroes and Angelina Jolie’s, it is only fair that women get to have their Brad Pitts and Denzel Washingtons.
“In the interest of full disclosure, as a Caucasian suburbanite man in my early thirties I have as much social justification to complain about the objectification of men in ‘chick flicks/shows’, as I do about portrayal of white people in black cinema as dweebish dorks who dance like they are having a seizure. Namely, it is a media that is NOT aimed at me as viewing demographic, doesn’t address issues that are specific to my gender, and uses shared cultural experiences (both good and bad) that because of my gender I will never have experienced.”
Photo credit: Flickr / AleBonvini