A man is told to be tough
A man is told to be tough. A man is told no cry. The idea of manhood has affected the minds of men. Men are being forced to think they are obligated to be tough and shouldn’t show emotions. They are told showing emotions isn’t what a real man does. The idea of manhood has been a continuous problem that has affected not only men, but young boys. Owen Jones, the author of the “How to be a Man” published an article that illustrates how the idea of being a real man in society has become very standardized. He describes how history has taught us that it can’t be changed, and it’s not supposed to change. He describes the problems men are put in, and how these different situations portray how men are obligated to think they are supposed to react in certain ways. Similarly, the documentary “The Mask You Live In” by Jennifer Newsom, also describes the problems men are facing in this society. The documentary describes several psychologists and parents, that have studied the different ideas people have about men, and how today a man has to stay tough and play sports all the time. Both the documentary and the article describe how parents, teachers, and friends are factors that scare guys if they aren’t a real “man” in their eyes. The problems that men seem to be having today are that they are obligated to be tough and athletic from a young age, they can’t be open about their problems and show their emotions, and lastly, if they have more female friends than male friends then they are portrayed as “gay.”
One of the problems men seem to be having today is that they are obligated to be tough and athletic from a young age. Men are instructed to participate in football and basketball from a youthful age from their parents to develop “manhood.” The idea that a man has to be tough and love sports is described in the quotation, “From an early age, what it is to be a man is drilled into young boys. Being sporty and athletic; talking about women in an often degrading way; engaging in fights these can all be seen as “manly” (Jones 3). The word “drilled” portrays a type of action that is being forced on the boy. The boy is being forced to love and be involved in sports to be portrayed as a “man.” Similarly, the term“athletic” is described to be “physically strong and active.” Being physically strong and active requires a continuous amount of effort. These young boys are being forced to work on becoming an athlete to receive their parents' approval. Similarly, in the documentary a football coach, Joe Ehrmann describes how masculinity is taught through sports and that being violent would help the boy succeed. The coach describes, “The first lie every boy learns in America is we associate masculinity with athletic ability, but many boys don’t want to just be involved in sports. They want to do computers, or music or debate.” His use of the word “lie” in the quotation illustrates how parents lie to their children to receive the “man” they want their child to enhance. The word “associate” in the quotation also illustrates how a man is automatically supposed to be athletic and enjoy sports from a youthful age. Similarly, in both quotes, the boy is being told to do something. The boy is informed to perform a type of action in order for him to be a man in this wicked society. These young boys are being taught that violence and being a considerable football player obtains a way to be a man. To be viewed as a man, these young boys are encountering the problem of having to portray a type of bravery in front of their parents, which is through playing sports or winning in a fight with another boy. A man isn’t supposed to be super strong or violent to be portrayed as a “man” in the eyes of others, especially their own parents. If a boy wants to be involved in music or theater, then they should still be viewed as a “man” and nothing less. A man should be able to play music, be involved in things other than sports without fearing what society will think of him. Parents drill the idea of a man with sports in order for their sons to be able to defend themselves, but sports don’t constantly support the boy to defend himself. A man shouldn’t have to go through caring about what society wants him to be, but what he desires to be. A man should be capable to not have to be involved in sports or fights in order for him to be a concrete "man."
Another problem men seem to be having today is that they aren’t supposed to be open about their problems, and their emotions are supposed to be hidden. Men are being told that a “real man” isn’t supposed to be sensitive and talk about their problems, because if they do then they aren’t a “real man.” Men are instructed from a young age that crying and showing how they absolutely feel isn’t how a man is “supposed” to be because crying is only for “girls.” Jones’ article illustrates men are afraid to talk about their emotions or explain how they’re feeling from the reaction of society. In the quotation, “It was like feeling crushed. Eventually, he was diagnosed with depression, but he found it difficult to talk about. That mental health side is embarrassing. There’s a stigma. As a man, you fear it’s about your masculinity,” illustrates how men are feeling ashamed to feel depressed or be able to share what they’re feeling (Jones 6). Men are experiencing that being depressed is a type of sin and can’t happen to them because they are supposed to be a “man.” The word “fear” in the quote implies how this man fears his masculinity will be taken away from him if he admits he’s depressed. The “fear” also portrays the effects society has on men, and how they aren’t able to cry or express themselves from it. This is the problem. Men in society are told that they can’t be depressed or talk about their emotions. Identically, in the documentary, it equally describes how a young boy is having to deal with going to school and get bullied. The boy is expected to not show his emotions in front of the boys that were bullying him from the fear of being viewed as not a “man.” In the documentary his mother, Gaby describes how her son was struggling with being bullied to the point where he thought that crying about it made him seen not a man. She says, “By the middle of the school year, I would pick him up from school and I would see in his face that he was doing everything in his power to hold back his tears because he didn’t want to be made fun of by the boys for not being a man” (Newsom). The young boy is scarcely having to pressure himself from showing his real emotions in front of bullies because he doesn’t want to get bullied more from crying about it. Boys are taught that crying is viewed as a negative aspect to have, and that showing emotion isn’t something a real man does, which is wrong. Both quotes describe how boys are merely informed that having problems, depression, and crying about pain isn’t something a real man does. They are taught that it is what a woman performs. A parent or friend that teaches a man not to show emotion is only torturing them because of their suffering from pain. Concealing it inside of themselves is only because they want to be a “man” in front of society. Society has instructed men to grow up and deal with bad depression and mental issues because showing emotions isn’t what a man is. Society has drilled the stigma that a man doesn’t cry, and this is unsatisfactory because burying emotions isn’t healthy. A man should be able to cry and let out any emotions they are experiencing towards something because they are mortal. Humans cry and have problems. It’s ordinary. Women aren’t the exclusive ones who have the ability to show emotions or cry. Men should be able to cry too and not have the fear in their heads of “what will happen if I share my emotions.” Society is only hurting men, and making them become robots that think and perform the actions they are supposed to, which is wrong. Both the article and documentary illustrate how boys are afraid of feeling anything at all from the overwhelming fear of what society is going to view them as if they do show any type of emotion. They are afraid to be depressed, talk about what is bothering them or from crying because society has given them the idea that a “man” doesn’t cry or show emotions, and this is wrong.
Finally, the concluding problem men seem to be having is that if they have more female friends than male friends, then they are viewed as “gay” and not a “man.” Men are being told that if they have more friends that are girls then they aren’t a man. A man shouldn’t be forced to have certain friend groups only because that’s what society tells them they should. In fact, Jones illustrates how men have to deal with being called names from people in society that view friend groups as the result of becoming gay or bisexual. This is wrong. In the quotation, “The growing liberation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans people has eroded statistic ideas of gender and sexuality” (6). From the increasing amounts of gays and bisexuals increasing over the past couple of years, people have been given the ideas that being gay comes from not having certain gender factors. For example, people have associated the idea that a man having female friends leads to being gay and not a “man.” Society has not fully understood a gay person has the same gender-related friends. Unfortunately, people have associated the absurd idea that being gay can come from having too many of the other gender as friends. This is one of the statistics people associate with being gay. Of this dilemma, Newsom’s documentary discusses the similar idea as the article by illustrating how young boys are having to deal with not being friends with girls because they will be viewed as “gay” or not “straight.” A psychologist, Judy Chu admits “One of the things that came up in my study is the “mean team,” which is the boys acting up against the girls. One of the rules was the boys can’t play with the girls, and if you broke that rule, then you’re fired and not a boy anymore,” illustrates how boys conceive this idea engraved in their brains that girls are only friends with girls, and boys are only friends with boys (Newsom). Boys are producing rules for other boys in their groups to not associate themselves with girls because that is not what a “man” performs. Boys of young age groups are informing other boys that they aren’t a “boy” anymore from being friends with girls, and this isn’t right. Society has connected to being gay and having female friends as outcomes. Society has not understood a man can be gay, and all his friends can be males. A man should be able to be friends with females and not be called names from it because it isn’t true. A man becoming gay isn’t because he had close female friends, but it is because that’s who he is. A man who is gay and identified as one is just who he is, and him being friends with girls isn’t what caused it. The quotations use the terms “ideas” and “rules” to describe what society uses as excuses for calling men “gay.” Society has given people the idea and rule that being a man and being friends with girls isn’t right. A “rule” is described to be something given to be followed by groups of people, and society has given men the rule to only be friends with males. This just shows how much society doesn’t really understand gays or lesbians, and need to understand it isn’t right for men to face this problem. A man shouldn’t be entitled “gay” or “bisexual” and be viewed as less of a man for having female friends. It shouldn’t be a problem for men to want female friends, to be comfortable to be friends with a girl because everyone is different. A man shouldn’t feel the need to ask anyone if they want to be friends with girls because nobody should have that type of power over them, especially other boys, and society. Everyone feels different feelings, and some males feel more comfortable with female friends, and this is normal. In this way, both the article and the documentary illustrate the problem that men are called “gay” or not a “man” when being friends with females. Society should realize that nobody should have power over friendships of others, and everyone is different.
The problems that men seem to be having today are that they are supposed to be tough and athletic from a young age, they can’t be open about their problems and show their emotions, and lastly if they have more female friends than male friends then they are portrayed as “gay.” In summation, society views men in ways that were given to us from history. These ideas that men are supposed to be tough, sporty, and not show emotions have to change because everyone is different. Every man has his own feelings, and shouldn't have to fear what society will view of them from acting certain ways or doing different things.