Gender Roles In Tough Guise

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Burak defines gender socialization as “the process of interaction through which we learn the gender norms of our culture and acquire a sense of ourselves as feminine, masculine, or even androgynous” (Burack, 1). According to Burack, people of different genders behave differently not due to biological factors, but due to socialization that teaches individuals to behave in a particular way in order to belong to a certain gender. For example, women may tend to be nurturing, not because they are biologically programed to be caretakers, but as a result of society teaching them through toys and media to act as mothers. In this way, gender becomes a performance based on expectations rather than natural behaviors or biology, a phenomenon called “doing…show more content…
Similar to Sapolsky, Katz argues that the media teaches men from a young age to be tough, aggressive, and not to show emotional vulnerability. This is what he calls the “tough guise” or the artificial definition of manhood that forces men to conform to society’s expectations by being “tough” and powerful and hiding their emotions. In the beginning of the film Katz shows interviews with various young males where he asks what it means to be a man, and all of them provide an answer referring to strength, such as “powerful,” “intimidating,” “strong,” and of course, “tough.” When asked what a male is called when they fail to live up to these expectations, the young men replied, “wuss,” “fag,” or “sissy.” Katz points out that this just one of numerous methods that society uses to contain young men in this “tough guise” box, using insults to drive them to perform the way they believe a man should. Multiple other places exist where young men learn these behaviors, such as community, school, and in their family; however, Katz argues that one of the most powerful influences is the country’s pervasive media. For example, as movies have progressed, men have grown larger as women grow smaller. Movies such as Rocky, Rambo, and even the Godfather show men as inherently violent, strong, and emotionally underdeveloped, and this becomes the ideal image for boys just as the beautiful, nurturing, thin woman becomes the ideal for girls. Similar to Sapolsky, Katz believes that in order to lessen violence, our society needs to show honest and diverse representations of males rather than blaming

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