Lou Barbero Barbero 1

Professor Garber

Hm 46

April 9th, 1999

Image and Masculinity

More and more in today?s society young men?s minds are being

polluted with societies images of what a real man should be. They are

brought up with idols such a Superman and Batman and have it pounded into

their heads that they should be muscular, drive fast cars, and save women.

This images cause boys to do things that they do not really want to, but feel

that they need to live up to their macho image, or else they will not be a


It seems that when a boy is at a young age he is very susceptible to

picking up signals. Most boys grow up wanting to be like their fathers, and

wish to make their fathers happy. If his father works on cars, chances are

the boy will also want to work on cars. The same is true for the sports the

father likes and the television shows he watches. If dad comes home

everyday and watches the news with a beer in his hand, that is what the boy

will think is what a man should do. Just as if a father treats his wife badly, a

young boy will pick up on this behavior and think it is acceptable for a man

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to treat a women that way. The reverse is also true. If a boy sees his father

treat his mother with love and respect, he is likely to appreciate women.

A prominent image given to guys is that they have no

feelings and would never cry. Crying is for girls or for homosexuals, it is

thought. Over time this causes many bottled up feelings and results in a

violent temper. Men are just as prone to be hurt as women are, but often

have a harder time expressing it. The man is supposed to be the strong and

stable one, as where the women is the meek and frail one that the man must

protect. A man that can?t cry, or express the way he feels is no more a man

than one you can inflate.

Some masculine instincts are inborn, like the need for a boy to protect

his mother, but most are acquired. The image a man chooses to portray for

himself is influenced by the environment he is brought up in. Television

shows such as Married with Children depict men to treat

women terribly and only worry about their own needs. A boy who grows

up with these images will probably treat his wife the way he sees Al treating


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It seems that boys are much more competitive than girls and are

always striving to have the fastest car, the loudest stereo, the biggest muscles

and the best looking girlfriend. When it comes down to it, these things mean

nothing more than the image they produce, and in actuality will get you no

where in life. On the other hand however, a man that can express his

emotions without fear of what others think will more likely have a successful

marriage and family.

A young man must cope with all the images put out by society, his

peers and his own family, by deciding for himself what values are important

to him. Boys should not grow up with the feeling that they

cannot express there sensitive side or they will not be masculine. A man in

a 99? sports car is no more masculine than one in a 84? Buick, but in my

opinion, the one in the sports car is insecure about his own masculinity.