Masculinity In Malcolm Gladwell's 'Power Of Context'

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Humans want to be valued; they want to have meaning - so they do what they can to obtain that meaning. People are inherently social creatures born into a persuasive society, thus it is natural they derive the meaning of their lives from fitting into society’s constructs. These constructs are known as the “ideal man” and “ideal woman”. Men shirk help, feelings and weakness, and walk stoic through life, denying the freedom to express their emotions and live out the full range of the human condition. Meanwhile women suppress confidence, intelligence, and independence to adhere to the subservient parameters. Society’s backwards orientation towards masculinity and femininity forces individuals to live a half-life due to the denial of certain characteristics…show more content…
The ideal man is strong, never showing weakness. Real Men are stoic. Real Men do not complain. Real Men do not ask for help. If men seek out support, they are shamed for it, because first they must admit that they do not conform to the male construct. Society is enforcing a rigid and one dimensional notion of masculinity. Malcolm Gladwell states in “The Power of Context” from the Tipping Point, “…our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances,” (pg 152). These rigid roles constructed by society forces men to demonstrate traits that fall within the criteria. Society forces men to act a certain way to gender boundaries. Emotion and communications about emotions is for the weak. Men should have a steely gaze, ignore their issues and just tough it out- “man up”. On the opposite end of the spectrum, women are girls praised for being pretty, sweet, and nurturing. Interest in cooking, cleaning, fashion, anything within in the realm of the feminine is commended. Women should not sleep around because that is not “lady-like”. That would make her a slut. Both the ideal man and woman are exaggerated stereotypes of both genders. These societal parameters ultimately lead to an implosion amongst an…show more content…
This self-destruction is a result of the self-denial of their true identity, which could entail feminine qualities for the male construct and masculine qualities for men for the female construct. Gender roles create a huge burden upon an individual. The male gender role leaves many men alone as a result of society telling men to suppress their emotions. Seeking out help is weak, a constructed feminine trait. If one examines the Citadel, it is easy to see the repercussions of these gender roles. In Suan Faludi’s The Naked Citadel, she reveals a life, hidden behind the walls of a Men's world. The Citadel is a public military college. Young man are taught how to act and communicate like man, how to be prepared to the real world and face difficulties-"To bravely face difficulties, not to complain, and not to give up” are some of the rules in Citadel's code. In the Citadel a boy is remolded "into the whole man with his identity "stripped . A place where young men go to grow and develop into a man while not being in fear of exposing any "unmanly" like characteristics to the rest of society. Faludi states, ““the rules of gender [can] be bent or escaped” (Faludi 282). As a result of these strict guidelines for masculinity, as well as femininity, the cadets act out in destructive manners. Men are violent towards eachother, and anyone else they may view as a threat. The parameters of

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