Double Standard of Masculinity in Gender Role Socialization

2574 WordsOct 8, 199911 Pages
Masculinity is a topic that has been debated in our society extensively, through research as well as in informal settings. Many wonder what it means to be masculine, and if we can really assign a definition to such a subjective term. After all, shouldn't one's own perception be the determinant of what constitutes masculinity? This self-construction would be the ideal in our society, but unfortunately, it represents a false belief. Masculinity has certain characteristics assigned to it by our culture. In this paper I will explore the many facets of masculinity and demonstrate how certain beliefs pertaining to it are perpetuated in our society. I will also uncover many of the contradictions between society's assigned definition of…show more content…
Most of what a young boy learns about what it means to be masculine is presented to him at such an early stage that he accepts it as an inevitable truth. Often young boys can be found taunting and even motivating each other with phrases like "Don't be a (sissy) girl" or "Only girls do that." It seems that there is a pervasive fear among all males that the worst possible insult is to be labeled a female. William Betcher reports that some societies take this concept to an extreme. He talks of the initiation rites of the Sambia of New Guinea saying, "Initiation rites begin when boys are seven to ten years old and include oral ingestion of older boys' semen and painful bleeding by sticking grass reeds up the nose. The bleeding is a counterpart of menstruation and semen is ingested instead of mother's milk" (Betcher 1993). Although these actions seek to mark the boy as "not a woman", ironically they incorporate basic feminine biologic functions that men lack. <br><br>Secondary socialization then acts in the later stages of a boy's life to reaffirm society's beliefs about masculinity. As boys grow older, their bodies develop and they enter junior high and high school. At this point they begin to really understand that physical prowess and largess are the ideal. To see how this is done, we can simply look at the emphasis given to athletics versus the emphasis given to academics in public schools. Understandably, how schools emphasize athletics over academics is going to

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