Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Real Men Stretch: Rethinking Masculine Social Norms

Royce Reed
There is much to say about our culture and society regarding the issue of masculinity. As a whole, we live in a time and place where a male doing things we deem as "feminine" are universally condemned. Here, in the great United States of America, we train our boys to be hard and unattached to their emotions. When we begin to look men in the arts, specifically dance or ballet, why do we assume a guy is soft or gay? Years ago, it was gay for a man to be a hair dresser. I remember knowing 9.5 times out of 10 that a man interested in women's hair was gay (lol). Although it’s very interesting how trends change, it's usually after people complain and fight against stereotyping, the more we see it around us. When we're out looking to confirm our assumptions, we usually succeed. Then we are usually forced to conform to societal norms or we just don't see it as a big deal anymore. But no matter what form it comes in, society seems to have a narrow definition of what man is. If we rebel against this definition, we can expect the loudest voices to be those of the most ignorant.

I was prompted to write about masculinity because I was reading a story about Royce Reed (ex-wife of a pro basketball player who appeared on the reality TV show “BasketBall Wives”). Royce, who is a dancer and entrepreneur, has a son by basketball player Dwight Howard, who lives in Atlanta (seems like everyone lives here). So Royce is very open about posting pics of herself and her son in various areas of her life on Instagram. Well apparently, pictures of her son stretching were not too well-received by the black folks, which prompted Miss Reed to release this statement:



I said, "Right on Miss Reed! Educate the people!!"


I wish I could have read more of the comments that were posted, but it's clear from this example that there are some ignorant people out there that need to be put in their place.


We know how “our” people (or people in general for that matter) can be narrow-minded. We weren’t raised to be expressive in the area of the arts. Rap YES, Musically Yes, Sports Yes, but when it comes to dancing and ballet...oooh noooo guys were not going to prance around in leotards and tight pants outlining their ‘dong”. Instead, we stuck to something more masculine and acceptable! LOL I really don’t like the masculine vs feminine constructs we have in our society. I think we should open our minds as to what’s acceptable and normal for a man to do. What’s right or wrong about being yourself and doing what you want to do?......it’s a bit confusing to me why this all still persists....... WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?



ROBERT JONES
Male Media Mind