SS_260_Final_Project

SS_260_Final_Project - GENDER NORMS: MEN DONT CRY 1 Gender...

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GENDER NORMS: MEN DON’T CRY Gender Norms: Men Don’t Cry Kaplan University SS 260-02 Gender and Society Instructor: Pearlie Jones, PhD. 1
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GENDER NORMS: MEN DON’T CRY Abstract The paper discusses the role and pressure of gender norms on present day society. Gender norms are reconsidered through the prism of emotions and their place in the current perceptions about masculinity. The paper shows that despite the slight shift in gender consciousness, men are being further constrained in their emotional self-expression and still view emotions as a weakness. The example of Brokeback Mountain is used to reconceptualize the link between emotions and masculinity. Gender Norms: Men Don’t Cry 2
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GENDER NORMS: MEN DON’T CRY Introduction For decades, human behaviors and reactions have been governed by a whole set of prevalent gender norms, overcoming or breaching which was equal to a crime. Those who were brave enough to prove their right for individuality and self-expression were bound to experience the pressures of alienation, isolation, and even open hatred. The number and scope of gender norms was and is so extensive, that it is simply impossible to imagine what the society would have looked like, if both men and women had been given a chance to behave freely, or if both women and men had not known any gender expectations or norms. Understanding the most important social processes is impossible without trying to evaluate the impact and role, which gender norms play in the social development, and how they change under the pressure of various social, cultural, economic, and political factors. That masculinity was and is associated with the lack of emotional expression is difficult to deny: men do not cry, and this is one of the principal stereotypes which women hold about males. Although the current state of culture and gender ideology reflects the gradual shift in consciousness toward accepting emotions as a normal part of masculinity, men still view emotions as a weakness and seek to conceal their emotions and sensitivity under the pressure of the dominant masculinity norms. Masculinity and emotions: The general discussion The concept of masculinity in literature and society is associated with a range of clichés, of which emotional clichés seem the most important. Acceptable spectrums of expression, the lack of (public) emotions and control are, probably, the three most important features of masculinity today. Even language does not leave men a chance to become more emotional: women are usually referred to as the ‘weaker sex’, while emotions in men are almost synonymic to weakness (Titley, 2003). Although both men and women have and can express emotions, the existing gender norms impose significant constrains on how men 3
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GENDER NORMS: MEN DON’T CRY should deal with their own emotiveness. Emotional responses and perceptions between men and women are mostly similar; however, the ways in which they are expressed differ dramatically: “the public and private separation so crucial in approaching masculinity can
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SS_260_Final_Project - GENDER NORMS: MEN DONT CRY 1 Gender...

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