Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Post-Feminism for Men

            I don’t watch a lot of television, and I watch even fewer movies. It is safe to assume that many of the names or titles thrown around in this class go straight over my head. However, I am an avid fan of Friday Night Lights and got extremely excited when I could relate to this article! I love a television show with characters I can root for, and it wasn’t until reading this article that I realized just why I find the characters to be so honorable and likable. I must admit, before enrolling in this course, I was rather oblivious to the compulsory messages of heterosexuality and gender norms being funneled to the public every second. Sure, I could point out overt sexist images or commentary, but it was the more subliminal messages that went unnoticed. I love the characters on Friday Night Lights because they maintain respect no matter what issue presents itself. The article states that “Friday Night Lights had become, arguably, not just an examination of masculinity but a show with an overt feminist agenda”. While reading this I thought how this could be perceived as a sort of post-masculinism. While tough, strong, handsome, rugged, and jock are all stereotypical connotations of masculinity, they can be possessed without also representing the traditional ideals of “manhood.” Eric Taylor is a definite “man’s man” (I can attest, my older brothers are obsessed!) but in the same vein, he goes against many typical “manly” gender norms as he takes on a female assistant and ultimately lets his wife lead the family out of Texas.  
            In another article, Do Young Men Need a New Kind of Masculinity?, Courtney Martin argues for a positive, masculine gender identity. She presents an idea for masculinity that seems very post- structualist as she writes that men, “have built identities that they see as "masculine," and these identities are satisfying for them. But the idea of a top-down "masculinity" for men to aspire to, of "models," just seems restrictive. Yes, young men need to see thoughtful, feminist men, especially if they're not yet truly comfortable with women. But said thoughtful, feminist men don't necessarily have to offer a new masculinity — rather, they can simply teach that how men understand their gender is up to them, and that they shouldn't feel the need to fit themselves into any particular mold.”
            While on Facebook last week I saw a photograph of a Marine sergeant kissing his boyfriend after returning from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. I think that this picture presents a new form of masculinity that needs to be embraced. No one can argue that a Marine does not invoke traditional ideas of masculinity. However, this picture shows that what is masculine does not have to mean heterosexual thus changing what it means to be a man in this world.

No comments:

Post a Comment