Peer Review by Hanan Adi (Germany)

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Fragile Men

By: Kara Webber

    This isn't about a feminist putting down men. This is a feminist speaking up for men and supporting them. By the way, I should add- fem·i·nism /ˈfeməˌnizəm/. Noun. The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Note that nowhere in the official definition does it state "Women who loathe men and other women and who believe women are superior". Sorry about that- just want to clear things up. Anyways, now to the fragility of men.
    Of course, this doesn't include every man on earth- but it is a legitimate issue. Masculinity: it's gotten to the point of oppression, specifically in North American society. I cannot speak for anywhere else, but it's likely to be happening outside of this country. Males are taught, it seems, how to be "manly" from a young age- but what makes strength, dominance, and working so masculine? Many put downs associated with making a male feel less masculine include calling each other "pussy", "girl", and other derogatory terms relating to females and their genitalia. Putting how this makes many females feel aside, the victims of this form of bullying literally includes nearly every male I've known. Why is it that men feel so accomplished and satisfyingly masculine after attacking another male's masculinity? I can only assume it ties in with the dominance character trait.
    It's obvious that this isn't healthy for anyone. Males are made angry and self conscious by the bullying, women feel like the men believe women are inferior, and the males insulting the others may continue due to the praise and attention they receive for it. I even acknowledge that it is none of the parties' fault, but likely has to do with history, evolution, and/or chemicals and hormones; yet nevertheless is largely detrimental over time and even emotionally scarring in some cases. Still, this isn't the quietest effect. The quietest effect is, coincidentally, the loudest.
    Gunfire, screaming, running, bodies. No, not a war, but a school campus. According to various sources, the majority of school shooters are male. As is widely known, the reasoning most often has to do with bullying. But why not, though this is not a positive solution either, only kill themselves? Why take other students with you?  The only logical explanation, I believe, is to prevent the bullies from doing further damage.Yet we still stand puzzled as to why boys are the shooters so often. I and many others are concerned that it has to do with society's pressure on males to be big and strong and dominant. Argument? Fist fight. Refuse to fight? Pussy.  Asked to do something by an authority, with friends present? Make it into a joke. Like a girl? Try and force her into a relationship. It's unhealthy. And things like this have become so common that they're expected. But what happens when you push a guy over the edge, and he loses his self control, and all he knows is to physically fight his problems? If we can lessen the pressure on males to be masculine, we may observe less violence.
There's much more to discuss on this topic, but I'll leave that for those more experienced. To conclude, do what you can to decrease the supressing of the male population, and always be aware of the corruption small negative comments may potentially cause. 

WARNING: Mild Language. Has masculinity become unhealthy? 

Message to Readers

I know it definitely needs improvements- so please, if you have any questions or comments send in a review!

Peer Review

Your hook begins with the phrase, "this isn't." This automatically makes me want to read on to find it what this IS. You also begin your essay with a comforting statement that makes me warm to you: you are someone who supports women and men alike. I do have a suggestion for your introduction, which I have included highlights.

Your position is clear: you feel that today's emphasis on virility is detrimental to both males and females.

The anecdotes you include illustrate your points well. I found this passage, in particular, interestingly presented and revealing: "Argument? Fist fight. Refuse to fight? Pussy. Asked to do something by an authority, with friends present? Make it into a joke. Like a girl? Try and force her into a relationship."

It would have been a strong point also if you could include that males are often expected not to show their emotions and affections. For example, people accept a woman crying much more easily than they accept a man doing so. They may also accept women friends holding hands more easily than men friends holding hands.

The hook was good. Each subtopic was clearly stated, and the supporting evidence and examples could flow really well with a little work. The conclusion could have been stronger, but I understand that this is a draft, so no worries. I have included a few suggestions in highlights, if you like.

I like that you chose a new take on feminism and gender roles. A lot of times in the past and present, it is the females who are considered and/or treated as inferiors, but you demonstrate how men also suffer from being called weak. Your essay is short enough to be easily digested but long enough to make a clear point. I think you're off on a good start for a gripping op-ed.

Reviewer Comments

Good day, Kara.

If I sound too critical, I am sorry, but I am aware that this is an essay for a competition, so I try harder to alert you to possible areas of improvement.

Thank you for sharing your valuable insight on this understated problem. I hope you will be able to convince others as well to take a stand against bullying of males. Good luck in the competition, Kara.