This isn't about a feminist putting down men. This is a feminist speaking up for men and supporting them. 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, and what makes masculinity so dangerous.
Of course, extreme masculinity isn't forced on every man on earth- but it is a legitimate issue. Masculinity: it's gotten to the point of oppression, specifically in North American society. Males are taught, it seems, how to be "manly" from a young age- but what makes strength, dominance, and working so masculine? Before researching this question, I formed a hypothesis on the answer: If a man has excess testosterone, perhaps he then becomes more violent and prone to outbursts meant to prove one's masculinity. I read over the "Testosterone" Wikipedia page, which seemed to prove my hypothesis correct. On the page it references studies done on both animals and humans using testosterone- most studies showing results of aggression and competitive behavior. However, Christopher Mims wrote an article on Scientific American, Strange but True: Testosterone Alone Does Not Cause Violence, that challenges my hypothesis, saying that though higher testosterone levels are found in those more violent, testosterone may not have been the only cause. It appears we as humans are still unsure- but it seems clear that testosterone has something to do with these "manly" traits. So what happens if a male shows lack of strength, dominance, and/or working?
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 aside how this makes many females feel, 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? A male cannot even show emotion without again feeling the wrath of society's expectations of men and boys. I can only assume it ties in with the dominance character trait- which has countless negative effects in itself.
It's obvious that extreme masculinity expectations aren'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 society's 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.
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.
Final Draft submitted after deadline due to lack of access to site. WARNING: Mild Language. Has masculinity become unhealthy? Reviews still encouraged.