Masculinity And Its Perception By Male Characters Essay

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James Baldwin is a wonderful author in regards to weaving certain topics, both controversial and non-controversial, into his texts. The struggle with masculinity is one of a plethora of topics that Baldwin discusses. Although they might seem insignificant, they serve a great purpose in introducing the societal views of these ideas and definitions through different perspectives. Masculinity and its perception by male characters is a topic that is touched on in many of his texts. Whether it’s through the difficulty behind understanding masculinity or using it as a façade to cloak another secret, Baldwin’s characters bring a numerous amount of questions surrounding the idea of what masculinity is and what it serves others in society. This topic relates to how 21st Century American society views men and the importance of a masculine identity. There is this immense backing of the idea that an ideal man is this macho, testosterone-driven individual who can only discuss sports, drink large amounts of alcohol, and explicit sexual interactions with women, or what is now considered “hypermasculinity”. “Hypermasculinity is what society paints as what a man should be”, states Tratel Ingram, writer for MTV Voices and author of the article The Pressure to be Masculine. “Hypermasculinity can be defined as a term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality… It’s extremely damaging to men and boys everywhere.”
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