It seems like in this day and age everything and everyone is stereotyped. A person must always act a certain way depending on class, gender, and race. No one is allowed to be different in any way shape, or form. One of the main groups of people who must deal with major stereotypes is the American male. This essay will explain and analyze some of the stereotypes facing males today. Also, this essay will examine Paul Theroux‘s view on view on being a male.
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American males face an entire life filled with stereotypes. This starts from the time they are little boys and continues right up to adulthood. How many times have you heard someone tell a small male child to quit crying because boys do not cry? This is an example of the image placed upon men. They are not allowed to show feelings or weaknesses. To do this would make them look feeble and fragile. In order to be a man, one must be the opposite, one must be strong. The question is, why is being different such a bad thing? An essay written by Paul Theroux, called The Male Myth, tells of his disgust of this and other stereotypes that are placed upon men. He simply says that to be a man one must “Be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, and soldierly, and stop thinking”. To be the typical male a person must obey this stereotype and show no feelings. No matter the situation, men are not allowed to cry.
Many men feel the need to prove their masculinity. As children, playing high school sports is the way to be strong and fit in. Dunking the ball over an opponent or smashing the other teams quarterback is an excellent way to prove strength. Theroux feels that “the manly attitude toward sports seems to be little more than a recipe for creating bad marriages, social misfits, moral degenerates, sadists, latent rapists and just plain louts”. Sports can have a positive effect on the person who is playing. It is when young men feel they have to play to be a man that it turns bad. They feel that sports are the key to being like every other boy in their age group. Being different, would then cause them to be an outcast in their groups. They do not realize that there is nothing wrong with being unlike everyone else. Men tend to turn everything into a big competition. By competing against each other, they are proving who is stronger and more of a man. This is the reason everything from a simple video game to drinking turns into a contest. Drinking games are intended to see who can tolerate the most alcohol, and who can drink it the fastest. By slamming down a few beers with the guys, you would be considered to be more of a man. As Paul Theroux’ view “Being a drunkard is another assertion, if misplaced, of manliness” . This is why society sees alcohol as something that is not wrong, even though it kills thousands every year. Where, if men would put an end to the excessive drinking that allows them to become masculine, lives could be saved rest.
There are stereotypes for every angle of life in the United States. Americans often feel that in order to be accepted they must follow these unwritten sets of rules. It is not just men that fear what is different. Everyone is afraid of what is not considered normal. There are only a select few who are brave enough to be an individual, unique from the rest.
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