Wussification of Men in Today’s Society

When we try to get rid of stereotypes of certain gender, it is always brought up again to people’s attention. Nick Adams the author of American Boomerang was invited as a guest to talk about wussification of men. Nick Adams pointed out that it is difficult to be a real men in today’s society. However, what does it truly mean to be a ‘real men’? His statements and talks are way too generalized, because in some situations, men still have more dominance than women. I believe that feminism’s true goal is to neutralize the power between men and women to have equal power and privileges in any circumstances. Since Nick Adam seems to be talking behalf of all men, I want to ask, do you think men in today’s society is being ‘wussified’? The word itself is so offensive to all men, and saying that wussy men are a threat to today’s national security, he has made a big mistake.

Is it difficult to be a true men in today’s society?  And what does it mean to be a real men? North American societies have the standard of what real men should be like, American societies require men to be the masculine, strong, independent, and powerful and many other positive characteristics. Nick Adams generalizes his points on how all men are suffering from the over power of feminism today. He also points out that due to women’s power it is uncomfortable for men to make his own decisions. However, are these statements all true? I do not think so, because even today, we can easily see more male successors than female successors, we mostly have a male dominant workforce and government and laws are also dominated mostly by men. How can we possibly say that women are now possessing more power than men? Or, how can we say that all men are being ‘wussified’. A true men should be able to make wise decisions on their own and know how to take their own responsibility. However, Nick not being the ‘real man’ himself, he says that this is the result of feminism.

Again, feminist’s true goal is to equalize and neutralize the power between all genders, especially between men and women. If feminists are trying to gain more power than men, then he is right on the fact that feminists are on the wrong track, but, this is not true. Some sociologist say that feminist mothers are trying to abolish patriarchy and establish matriarchy, thus, feminism is a problem. However, I strongly disagree because in today’s highly competitive society, it is hard for every men to succeed. What is the very first reason that patriarchy was established? Patriarchy was established naturally as men had the power and ability to feed and support their family. But today, we can see a lot of families exchanging responsibility roles to organize the family and so forth, it is purely up to the one who has the ability to feed and run their family. Therefore, it is perfectly normal to have a family leader who is not a father.

Clayton Morris raised a question that brought myself into a big confusion: “how can we raise our children as boys and girls without fitting them into these stereotypes?” What a great question, but sadly, this is self-contradicting since Nick Adams is trying to strengthen and solidify stereotypes of how men should behave and look like. That being said, would people like Nick Adams be happier if all women were always under men’s power and control? At the same time, Nick Adams is also solidifying how women should behave and perform their tasks. The history has changed and we are living in a new generation where both men and women possess equal chance to succeed in society. Thus, it unnecessary for Nick Adams to talk about how each gender should perform their given gender roles.

In conclusion, he says that wussy men are a threat to national security since they cannot win, and America is all about winning, and so, it is pivotal for the health of the national security. However, I want to lastly say that we cannot always live in a society that is male dominant. All genders should have the equal rights to succeed and raise a family without any problems that he has raised. This seems like a problem just for himself since men are not wussy, and even if some people are a little bit feminine, Nick Adams does not have the right to criticize or judge their identities. I want to say that people who are unable to accept changes are the threat to national security rather than wussy men, because they are not flexible of their fixed mindsets of male dominance and gender stereotypes.

 

The Wussification of Men

Society has created cookie cutter descriptions on what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman. Men are suppose to be masculine; qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men (Oxford Dictionary); they are suppose to be independent, non-emotional, aggressive, competitive, strong, active, self-confident, hard, sexually aggressive, and rebellious. Whereas woman are suppose to be feminine; having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women (Oxford Dictionary); they are suppose to be dependent, emotional, passive, sensitive, quiet, graceful, innocent, weak, flirtatious, nurturing, self-critical, soft, sexually submissive, and accepting.  But what happens when people want to breakout of those stereotypes, men want to be feminine and woman want to be masculine? Should we stop them? Should we conform them back to what society thinks is right?

According to Nick Adams the author of American Boomerang, he believes that men in general are becoming feminine and that it needs to stop. His beliefs are obvious when he states “men have gone from wrestling crocodile to wrestling lattes, it is a phenomenon that is really dangerous and having an adverse effect on men around the world”  (Nick Adams). He claims that there are just angry woman left in the world and wussy men and all of this is due to feminism. But why is this dangerous? Why are strong independent women considered angry? Why is the idea of gender roles switching such a danger? In Adams’ mind the danger is the mind set change in America.

Adams has an infatuation with American even stating in his book that he “loves America because it is confident, competitive, … and courageous… It is everything as a nation that (he) wish(es) to be a person” (Adams, 2). Is it surprising that the qualities he “loves” about America are those to define masculinity?  Adams’ belief is that with the loss of America’s “masculine” men or more accurately the acceptance of non-traditional men characteristics, the characteristics of the nation are going to change to those of less masculine tendencies and more feminine ones. This in his mind is dangerous because it will leave America venerable, weak, passive, and soft, and will create a national security threat. He states that “Wimps and wussies deliver mediocrity, and men win. And what America’s always been about is winning.” Adams believes that the only way to save America is to teach our boys at a young age to be “manly” men and stay away from the metrosexual characteristics and ideals.

I have many problems when it comes to Adams’ beliefs alone. The first problem with his argument is the stereotype he is placing on men. Adams believes that all men have to be masculine and that without that masculine tendency the nation is threatened. This belief that all men have to be masculine is not only offensive but also wrong. Adams is targeting all men that are not following that stereotype and calling them a threat. Is the fact that my Dad likes to read rather than hunt a threat to our nation? Are men who enjoy dancing and singing over football and hunting a threat to our nation? The last time I checked a man showing that he’s sensitive does not destroy or corrupt a country on the contrary I personal think it makes the country stronger. My other problem with Adams’ beliefs is that he believes feminism is breeding angry women. Why is it okay for men to be independent and strong but women are its considered a threat and a show of anger. The inequalities Adams displays in this article towards girls and guys is prominent when he agrees with the point that girls should be raised as girls and guys should be raised as guys. Who is to define what a girl is and what a guy is?

As I looked more and more into this news cast I began to wonder how Fox news could support such lucrative views and not notice the inequality and stereotyping in Adams statements, and I found research that Fox News actually agrees with Adams and his views. Fox News has on mulitiple occasions talked about the Wussification of America and the top 10 things that need to change.

  1. Firing abusive coaches
  2. Co-ed sports teams
  3. Human Resources
  4. Helmets for youth soccer leagues
  5. Common core math strategies
  6. The possible redskin name change
  7. Paid interships
  8. A police officer who was suspended for cursing
  9. Fines for poor sportsmanship

10. Yoga for children.

(http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/12/23/top-ten-things-fox-decided-will-lead-to-the-wus/197334)

I personally agree with all the items stated above, everything done by society; the firing of abusive coaches, Co-ed sports teams and HR; was not done to “wussy” a nation but was put in place to make a nation more accepting, safer and accessible to everyone.

Mannequins Now Growing Pubic Hair?

After reading this article that talks about American Apparel’s new mannequins with visible pubic hair, the idea of natural beauty has become clearer. To begin, natural beauty does include hair on the body. Dating back to when artists sculpted the female body they eliminated all pubic hair.  It seems as though these artists, predominantly male, not only sculpted female bodies in celebration of their beauty but also wanted to create this imagined perfect female form, which of course does not exist naturally.  Apparently, a perfect female body has no hair, which is ridiculous because if natural beauty is being celebrated than everything should be included.

That being said, these sculptures may have had a bigger impact on society today than imaginable.  A beautiful body for woman is still regarded as hairless, requiring woman and young girls to shave their armpits, pubic bone, legs, and even arms.  This article raises the awareness around this idea that woman are suppose to look the way men want them to look and that women have become so accustomed to these ways of life, booking wax appointments and such, that they do not think about whether or not, after all the time and money, it is even worth it.  Are they happier?  Do they feel prettier?  The answers to these questions come directly from the male’s response.  Basically what comes out of this male dominance, is that woman feel prettier and happier and men are attracted to them and given them attention.  Woman, in order to feel truly beautiful, must stop looking for external acceptance and look within.

So why are people so shocked by these images? The reason being is that the public has never seen them before.  Pubic hair is completely natural.  The only issue, however, that comes up is that this is a very private part of the human body.  It is personal and not meant to be shown to the public.  It is understandable that the message being made is about free will and body modification, but are there other ways to demonstrate the same message that are less invasive?  Is such a shocking image the only way to see effective change in the way people perceive their bodies? It would interesting to go further into other possible campaigns that would highlight the issue of what society considers as natural beauty and body modifications that individuals choose to make.  However, would they be as effective?

Regardless of whether or not famous sculptors depicted female bodies without hair intentionally to stir up such controversy around natural beauty, it is clear that men have a history of envisioning a woman with a man’s idea of the perfect body.  The controversy that arises from this is that it has become natural for man and woman to want to appeal to the other sex, which of course is an extremely natural thing and there is nothing wrong with it.  The problem with this relationship, however, is that what women do to make men attracted to them is completely unfair.  Women undergo unnatural alterations of making themselves “attractive”, to fit this man-made image of sexy, by highlighting their hair, getting eyelash extensions, and getting breast implants, only to name a few of the transformations.  Moving forward, it is important that woman start creating their own definitions of sexy and beautiful so that the alterations, if any, that they choose to undergo (because it is their body and therefore their choice) are to be made for their happiness and not for men.

That being said, how do women create their own definitions?  The introduction of American Apparel mannequins with pubic hair is an excellent way.  The image is shocking and so is the idea of it all, however, the shock factor is necessary to see rapid change.  It is less about the mannequins and more about the awareness they bring to the idea of natural beauty and female agency.  Gaining awareness around an issue can be tricky but shocking people and stirring up conversation among individuals and the media is an effective tactic.  These hairy mannequins highlight the idea of individual choice and free will to do whatever one pleases with their own body. American Apparel celebrates this change in opportunity for woman to feel beautiful in their true natural form, not the “natural form” falsely created selfishly by men.

Female Pubic Hair—a Societal Taboo

The sexualisation of the female body has been present in various Western societies for centuries. From naked figures in artwork to the commoditization of women’s bodies in music, no one is safe from this controversial fad that exists today. Within this sexualisation of women’s bodies, there is an unspoken standard or expectation of how these bodies should look. Anyone can see by observing pop culture today that this standard consists of white, thin females.  Women strive to achieve this societal perfection—a seemingly unattainable image for the majority of the female population. Within this societal norm, there is a further criterion that women feel they must obey in order to be deemed as attractive by society. One of these is the hairless factor.

American Apparel, a popular American clothing store, recently made headlines as they unveiled a new set of mannequins in a New York store window. These mannequins consist of white women with unruly pubic hair seen through sheer undergarments that the mannequins are wearing.

The author of the article on the blog website Gothamist.com, Jen Carlson, discusses this controversy. She refers to this display of pubic hair as  “1970’s porn bush[es].” Carlson is simply adding to the body shaming of women. What she refers to as a porn bush from the seventies, I simply refer to it as what it is—a vagina, in all its glory. The fact that Carlson is contributing to the societal expectation of having a hairless body is discouraging for women. As a woman herself, she should be standing up for the rights of women. She should be encouraging them to have the confidence to sport this “porn bush”, therefore gaining back the rights over their own bodies and not giving into the body modification trends.

MANNEQUINAA

(Photo by Michelle Barber-Perry)

            This discussion has become the ultimate taboo as women feel that it is wrong or gross to have pubic hair. Women have been made to feel that body hair equals masculinity. Therefore in order to be feminine, we must be hairless. This especially pertains to pubic hair. While many claim that it is a personal preference of how you style your pubic hair, it is my understanding  that many of us feel that we must be hairless “down there” in order to be seen as attractive or sexy to men. We feel that we must shave our legs, wax our eyebrows, shave our armpits, and wax our vaginas in order to be seen as feminine in today’s society. We put our bodies through torture in order to achieve the beauty that society forces us to strive for. And if we don’t strive for this beauty, then we are deemed as feminists.

When asked the question of whether women have free will in terms of their body modification, I would argue that society does not allow us to. Society and pop culture has deemed pubic hair as a sign of masculinity and when females are attributed to masculinity, they are deemed as lesbians or feminists. Clearly there is nothing wrong with being either of these things, yet a woman who is neither a lesbian nor a feminist should feel that she has enough control over her own body to choose to sport pubic hair. Hairlessness attributed to feminism is a socially constructed craze that further deepens the insecurity that women feel within their own bodies.

I think that it is ridiculous that this American Apparel display has been deemed as feminist. Yes, you could attribute it to third wave feminism, but these images still objectify women. With these mannequins scantily clad in sheer undergarments on display for everyone to see, nothing is left up to the imagination. While American Apparel’s Ryan Holiday claims that these mannequins are meant to challenge the ideas of “sexiness”, he also said that it is meant to make people reconsider their personal opinions of the natural female form. Firstly, these mannequins are stick thin, displaying a societal expectation forced upon women that has led to higher rates of eating disorders and mental illness. Secondly, all of these mannequins are white, displaying another societal expectation. By claiming that these mannequins are meant to exhibit the “natural female form”, it makes me wonder why they chose to use pubic hair to do so.

I’m curious as to whether people would react the same way if these mannequins were not thin, tall white women. Had American Apparel chosen to display a curvaceous African-American woman or a short Asian woman sporting pubic hair, would American Apparel still have received the same reaction from the public? Had the store used mannequins that did not fit society’s description of beautiful women, I would expect that there would be much more backlash.

The warped image of what society views as “sexy” is degrading to women, and although I praise American Apparel for challenging these views with the exposure of female pubic hair, I further challenge them to experiment with models who are not predominantly white, tall, and thin.

Click on the picture or find the original article here:  http://gothamist.com/2014/01/16/american_apparel_mannequin.php