Jackson Katz Masculinity

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The ideology of Masculinity

Each day, millions of individuals around the world are exposed to media messages. Whether these messages are broadcasted through television, print media, or the Internet, the dominant culture has an undeniable influence on the minds of the general public. With the tactical use of both apparent and subliminal messages, the thought patterns of many individuals have been moulded to believe only one perception of what is morally acceptable. The ideology of masculinity, and the guidelines surrounding its validity, is one of the many societal norms constructed by the media. Over the past fifty years, men’s physiques, weapons, and vehicles, among other things, have undergone a massive transformation in published works.
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Both meaning to become brave or tough, this phrase is most often spoken to men who are displaying emotion, and the belief in which the phrase is founded is evident: manliness is not solely focused on appearance, but also, one’s ability to be invulnerable. Jackson Katz, an anti-violence educator, explores the idea of male toughness through references to many iconic men in the media, including the Marlboro Man. All of the men Katz describes in his interview assert their manliness through austerity and impassive behavior, expressing to society that, “interdependence, connection, and relationships [in men] are forms of weakness; that stuff’s for women”. Moreover, a study published in the journal entitled Social Science & Medicine by a University College Dublin sociologist, Anne Cleary, also emphasizes the notion of complete indifference in men. In her study, Cleary highlights the commonalities among fifty-two young Irish men who survived suicide attempts: “all expres[s] reluctance to disclose to anyone the significant, long-lasting emotional pain that had threatened to overwhelm them” (Freed). Although Cleary’s study is conducted on a small sample of one nationality, research conducted at the Mental Health Foundation proves Cleary findings to be common behavioural patterns in most men: “29 percent of women are more likely to be treated for a mental health issue than men, which is…show more content…
Over time, the thought patterns of many individuals mould to believe only one perception of what is morally acceptable— a perception that is completely faulty. The ideology of the male body and demeanor is only one of the many societal norms constructed by the media, and it alone can result in mental health fatalities, mass violence, or the mere elimination of self-identity whilst attempting to meet the ever-changing ideals of masculinity. The continuous and stereotypical depiction of masculinity in the media has idealized invulnerability, toughness and physical strength as the sole qualities of a ‘true man’. As a result, the complexity of masculinity is flattened, and immense pressures are placed on individuals to meet requirements that are entirely faulty. According to Katz, cultures, topics, and even genders are not one-dimensional; in order to fully comprehend the meaning the entirety of something, one must look at more than its representation in the media.

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