All Hell Breaks Loose When Man Uses Women’s Product
The Concept of Fragile Masculinity
Masculinity is said to be the running force of our society. Masculinity is defined as strength, rugged, non-emotional, powerful and most importantly…NOT FEMININE. In our society, masculinity and femininity are on two sides of the spectrum and they can’t intertwine…or so it has been told. Women often times have to become more masculine in order to gain power in their position. One example of this is Hillary Clinton. Many times the media has noted she is more masculine and has taken on masculine characteristics, which is why she is able to run for president. Sure, this is true in many cases. Because women are so subordinated and inferior to men, they believe that they have to assume masculinity in order to be taken seriously. It’s pretty sad actually. So it’s easy for women to move into the masculine part of the spectrum, but this isn’t easy or suggested for men. If a man assumes any femininity, he is made fun of. How ironic is this? Women are allowed to take on masculine characteristics without a blink of an eye, but when a man takes on feminine characteristics, he is then the butt of the joke. This brings us to the topic of fragile masculinity.
Masculinity is not all what it says its about! It’s very contradictory. Masculinity entails strength and non-emotion, yet masculinity breaks with the touch of the color pink. Masculinity is so fragile that it can’t even handle normal everyday things. There is a Q-tip advertised towards men, because using a normal Q-TIP would somehow damage their masculinity. On the box, they describe the Q-tip as a tool that men can use to detail, clean and build as if they were working on a car. Further enforcing that masculine stereotype. Special formulas of deodorant are also made for men because smelling nicely or like a woman would be horrendous to their identity…because smell apparently has a gender too. Another example of fragile masculinity is the “bro-mance.” Women are allowed to have close friendships with other women and it’s normal, but when two men have a close friendship it’s called a bro-mance. It has to be labeled so no one would get the wrong idea (the idea that they may be gay, which straight men think is also feminine). The notion that if a man has anything to do with femininity, then he will be less man-ly is completely idiotic! But our society creates a certain standard of masculinity and holds all men to it strongly.
What society has to realize is that masculinity and femininity don’t have to settle on the two opposite sides of the spectrum. It is fine for masculinity to harbor some femininity and vice versa. It’s also important to note that this will not determine where one stands in power. A woman can be feminine and also masculine and have a bunch of power. A man can also be masculine and have some feminine traits and still hold power. Gayle Rubin explains this in her essay on the “Political Economy” of Sex:
“But the idea that men and women are two mutually exclusive categories must arise out of something other than a nonexistent ‘natural’ opposition. Far from being an expression of natural differences, exclusive gender identity is the suppression of natural similarities.”
Men and women don’t have to exist differently or without each other. It’s only normal that men and women have the same traits because they are both human. But our society has de-humanized women to the point that de-values their traits as normal human traits. By putting expectations on femininity and masculinity, society IS suppressing (as Rubin said) similarities between the two.
Its important for our society to realize that if we change the stigma that femininity is weak, then fragile masculinity may disappear. The root of fragile masculinity comes from the idea that femininity is weak but also from men noticing that women are starting to become the source of some power. This leads them to further perpetuate the weakness of femininity. Men fear this idea of weakness that they really have created. Ultimately, men are scared that their masculinity is being compromised because a once “weak” entity [femininity] is proving to be not so weak. Society has to realize that men and women aren’t two different species that aren’t supposed to be similar. It’s only natural for men and women to be similar in some ways, however this doesn’t mean in every way. But it doesn’t make sense if they were not similar at all.