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Atinuke Omolara Michael Bradley English Composition 1002 April 3, 2008 Boys Don’t Cry: Hyper-masculinity and How it Affects Our Society When we think of ‘tough guys’ we often get a visualization of someone who is muscular, serious, strong and aggressive to say the least. Television often glorifies this image in that there are numerous commercials, movies and shows that illustrate what a tough guy should be. On the other hand, this hyper-masculine trend presents problems, especially when it applies to African- American men. Brent Staples, an author who has written for Chicago Sun Times and New York Times , has had first hand experiences that made him subjected to prejudice and discrimination. In his essay “Black Men and Public Space”, he describes how the stereotype of the ‘intimidating’ black male negatively affected his life and lives of other young men. The movie Crash (2005), which was written and directed by Paul Haggis, is a film about the lives of characters who are faced with racial conflict and is jam-packed with real life content which explores the different kinds of social and multicultural differences that exists in our everyday life. However, one supporting theme that is explored is the ‘tough guy’ image which is experienced by several of the characters. Staples’ essay “Black Men and Public Spaces” and Paul Haggis’ movie Crash deals with why men behave as tough guys and how this impression negatively affects young men today.
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The definition of masculinity has been a term that has existed for centuries. In every culture, men have traditionally taken on the dominant roles in society. The mass media has continued this tendency in that they decide what being a man consists of. Staples asserts that the expected attitude of men is aggressive and forceful, as they are “not supposed to give an inch of our lane on the highway; we are not to seize the fighter’s edge in work and in play and even in love; we are to be valiant in the face of hostile forces” (Staples, 197). The portrayal of men in the media exemplifies this statement and is also well illustrated in the movie Crash. One scene that sticks out is when Anthony, a carjacker played by rapper Ludacris, butts heads with Cameron, a prominent television producer played by Terrance Howard. Previously, Cameron has issues with his wife, Christine (Thandie Newton) because he could not defend her when an officer inappropriately frisked her at a traffic stop. This dilemma alone made him feel powerless, so when Anthony attempts to carjack his SUV at gunpoint, he fights back and does not back down from the situation. Anthony and Cameron commence to yell and argue in the car while police are in pursuit of them. In addition, when Cameron finally decides to pull over, he jumps out of the car and proceeds to rant and rave violently at the armed policemen. This is an example of a man who was perceived as a soft-spoken and well-mannered man at the beginning of the movie but changes into an enraged and disturbed man in the next scene. The feeling of
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course AFR-AMERS 1286 taught by Professor Maxwellstandford during the Spring '08 term at Temple.

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englishpaper3 - Atinuke Omolara Michael Bradley English...

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