GENTLEMAN-LINESS vs. MASCULINITY

When talking about male gender stereotypes, we should first take a step back and ask ourselves: what is manliness, anyway? As we explore the answers to that question, it becomes obvious that definitions of manliness aren’t always consistent between cultures. More important, though, is the fact that the definition of manliness isn’t a static one: it has a tendency to change over time. As American society crosses into the 21st century, we are experiencing shifts in what gender stereotypes are socially acceptable. Gone are the days when little Jimmy would go outside to play stickball with his friends every afternoon. Today, the average male youth participates in a host of activities that transcend male and female lines. He talks about his feelings. He takes cooking as well as woodworking. For many, manliness is less about eating red meat and watching football, and more about gentleman-liness, for lack of a better term.

As American men search for what it means to be male, it become obvious that gender equality is not exclusive of gender identity and role. One blog, The Art of Manliness, embodies that new American male identity. Its writers focus on contemporary interpretations of the core values of masculinity, using them as a path to becoming a gentleman. I recommend the blog to anyone else – it’s often a great read. Click here for The Art of Manliness blog.
Blog post created by Abraham H (a male student in my Anthropology course when we did a unit on gender)

KYRA: The one thing missing from the site recommended is…black people. But don’t let that stop you from reading it. Might be that black folks need to read outside the box of blackness to say/do something new inside the gender game.

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