Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Frances Huang's A new definition of Manhood

Frances Huang
YE4A 1094100030
A crisis of Masculinity and Male Bashing 2006/10/25

A New Definition for Manhood

Things change so the world improves (or corrupts) and especially the ideas related to humanity are always “in flux”. The fixed definition of manhood can be found in the dictionaries - for reference only. Just like the roles of women have changed due to various social factors, the meaning of manhood has also been adjusted to harmonize with the new definition of the role of women. Men used to be the main financial support of the family, but women are capable of creating fortunes now. Men used to be physically stronger then women, but due to industrialization, city men hardly need to use their muscles now. Also, it is very common that men wish to marry financially-independent women so that they can pay the mortgage together. In order to avoid the irrelevant ideas about manhood, the definition of manhood in the dictionaries definitely needs to be revised.

“Medieval knights” and “heroes from movies” sound very romantic and attractive, but are not realistic. Modern women are strong enough to live independently and heroes as saviors to women usually appear in movies only. The popular “male-warrior role models” nowadays is called “Neo-fine man”. This type of men has “the spirit of a knight”. They are not necessarily handsome, but they pay attention to details. They don’t ride horses, but they do housework. They don’t dance with swords, but they take care of children. They don’t wear armors, but they wear smiles. The living style of urban citizens has changed a lot, so have the roles of men and women. It doesn’t matter how the roles have changed. The important thing is that men and women could live together peacefully.

However, male-bashing becomes another challenge for men. The main audience of TV commercials and situation comedies are women. Of course, the producers will produce ideas like male-bashing to please their female target market and make good profits out of women’s consensus of “It’s all his fault! Ha ha...”. Women could somehow express their emotions through making fun of men. These commercials or situation comedies provide a good outlet for women’s anger (or maybe other emotions) toward men. They don’t really do any harm to men-and-women relationships, men probably will also have a good laugh out of it if they ever watch these commercials and comedies.

I’ve done a brief survey (only five subjects and three questions) to understand more about what men think of the feminist movement and male bashing. Three of them don’t think it’s fair to describe all men with “Men know nothing about love.”. One of them agreed that some men actually don’t know how to love. And the last one answered, “I will examine myself if I, as a man, have this problem.” Also, all of them think the feminist movement is quite a positive thing, since it means that women are independent and don’t have to rely on men. Interestingly, opposite to the stereotype of “males aren’t communicative”, four out of five choose to sit down and talk to women when problems occur. From this result (if they are really honest), I think the definition of manhood has really changed and men are less self-centered than in the past.

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