Does the stereotypical man exist?
Stereotypes of men don’t receive the same attention that stereotypes of marginalized groups receive. And it’s important that we break down the cultural assumptions about people who are held down by negative stereotypes. But what about The Man?
Do you find women attractive, sports excite you, and beer is a refreshing beverage? And if so, is that all that you are?
The “father as buffoon” of sitcoms, “The End of Men,” and men who “fail to launch” and live as perpetual man-children on the silver screen—The Hangover, Knocked Up, and the like—perpetuate an image of men as weak and passive, in direct opposition to the male myth that prevailed 60 years ago, in the age of the authoritative dads of “My Three Sons” and “Leave It to Beaver.” What has really changed in men’s lives and the world to explain this reversal?
Men are considered more violent, likely to harass or assault, and potential rapists. What has to change to smash these stereotypes of men?
And then there are all of the sub-types of men who are stereotyped. Young adult men are slackers, or in gangs. Black men are on their way to prison, and the prisons are full of men who deserve to be there. White collar men have no souls. White men are blithely, ignorantly racist. Gay men want to be women. Men who are artists, are perceptive or sensitive, are not really men. Men with disabilities aren’t really men, either. Nor are poor and disenfranchised men, undocumented men, janitors, waiters, stay at home dads, or a man who, in the words of Mick Jagger, “doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.”
When has someone challenged your manhood based on an assumption about what men are supposed to be like?
Are you a “real man”?
Is it manly to care?
Do you believe any of the stereotypes about men? Why?
What is the truth about you that the stereotypes deny?
Which stereotype of men is the most pernicious? What can we do about it?
The Good Men Project wants your stories of male stereotypes. Submit your pitches, queries, and completed works to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more Calls For Submissions.
Image credit: SOCIALisBETTER/Flickr