In Western countries, including America and Western Europe, hyper-masculinity is a fearfully dominant force.
Although the stereotype of western European men is that they are more feminine and welcoming to emotion and a more relaxed lifestyle, this is not always the case. Men are being trained from a very young age to be the macho man even in rural Italy and bustling Paris. This form of the patriarchy shines through the cracks as the “romantic”, the man that must save the day, the ‘Romeo’ of the situation, if you will.
We see it in every film, every book. The Western European Good Guy; he is charming and always around to help, always to the rescue. This is a lot of pressure to put on someone, and can often lead to frustration and sometimes violence.
The United States have a very distinct version of the macho-man. He is successful, clean cut, and no one can mess with him or tell him any differently. His mind is always made up and women and children regard him with a combination of awe and fear. This is a difficult image to uphold, as it requires a steady, well paying job, a rough and rugged attitude and the love of many; these are quite high standards to be constantly trying to live up to.
Thomas J. Scheff writes in his essay, Hypermasculinity and Violence as a Social System, “An English general describes the slaughter of his brigade as they moved toward German lines in the First World War.
“They advanced in line after line, dressed as if on parade and not a man shirked going through the extremely heavy barrage, or facing the machine gun fire that finally wiped them out. Yet not a man wavered, broke the ranks, or attempted to come back. I have never seen, indeed could never have imagined such a magnificent display of gallantry, discipline and determination.”
The general sees the men’s self control as virtuous, but it can also be seen as strict adherence to what my teacher, Erving Goffman, called the cult of masculinity (Where the Action Is, 1967).”
The cult of masculinity; an incredible concept, a fantastic way to phrase the mindset men worldwide share. It is a cult men are indoctrinated into at a young age and are often times members of until they die. It is the belief that the man is the savior, that they are the breadwinner and necessary for others to succeed in their own lives. This cult of masculinity is dangerous and detrimental.
Read about how hyper-masculinity is affecting Russian men and women, check back here next week.