The emasculation of men

By: Bryce Jolley

I am all about progress. I like the progress that society has made for the equality of women in a historically predominant male hierarchy. I think the sexes should be given equal opportunity and power. However, with that being said, there is another problem beginning to lurk in the doorways of social structure. With women on the rise, men are being emasculated.

Where I felt there was inequality before, there is inequality again. But it has just flip-flopped positions. Media, especially TV and movies, depicts men as incompetent, self-absorbed and immature. It hasn’t been enough for women to be on an equal plane as men. Society takes one step more and puts down. For example, it’s not enough for women to join the workplace as equal career partners being mothers. They have to make men seem incapable of performing their former duties in the home.

In March, there was a Huggies commercial that caused a lot of controversy for this very reason. Men were portrayed as being incompetent at raising children, particularly at changing diapers. They were also shown as self-absorbed, consumed with watching sports and neglecting their babies. Why can men and women have equal place in the workforce, but only women can be good at raising children? Why is a father’s role being downplayed and degraded to make women feel more equal? Both sexes should be viewed as being competent in both work and parent roles. That would be true equality.

However, society has the notion that for women to achieve true equality with men, they must be one step ahead, slightly raised on the pedestal of power. In a recent speech, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to men and encouraged them to not give themselves an excuse to mold into these portrayals incompetent, self-absorbed or weak men.

“In their zeal to promote opportunity for women, something we applaud, there are those that denigrate men and their contributions. They seem to think as life as a competition between male and female. That one must dominate the other. And now it’s the women’s turn . . . this cultural emasculation of men is having a damaging effect,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson said.

Think of your favorite movies or TV shows. In shows like “King of Queens,” “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother,” men are portrayed as lazy, unintelligent womanizers. This is a gross stereotype creeping into our society and could have a lasting effect for years to come.

I am all about equality and having women run right along with men, but women, don’t trample us while you are at it.

15 Responses to "The emasculation of men"

  1. Jessica Squies   October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

    You really need to focus on the priveleges you have as a male. This article struck me as whiny and shallow when you compare it to the serious challenges of inequality that women are facing. The fact that the media constantly portrays women as the main cooks and maids in the home in commercials for almost every cleaning and food product is NOT A PLUS for women. It’s degrading and oppressive for females to be constantly seen in this stereotypical gender roles. The fact that a religious institution would tell women not to rise above men in society just shows how sexist it is because they are not saying the same thing to the men in the church. If you want equality why don’t you ask for a paycut since Utah on average pays only 55 cents for every dollar a man earns, send out a provocative picture of yourself for companies to use for marketing and keep your shirt on in public at all times!

    Reply
    • Alex P   December 23, 2012 at 12:16 am

      What male priveledges are you referring to, exactly?

      My biggest concern with the feminist movement is that instead of working together, men and women now compete with one another. They compete in the workplace, they compete for control in relationships, and the end result is a +50% divorce rate.

      The fact that men are portrayed and perceived by society as expendable and useless (especially in the media) DOES NOT help any kind of reconciliation between genders.

      As for the difference in wages, men also take on the hardest, most dangerous and physically demanding jobs on the market. Firefighters, Oil riggers, miners, construction, etc.

      The idea that genders are equal, is in itself sexist… it does not acknowledge that there are in fact biological differences between us.

      WE ARE EQUAL IN WORTH, NOT EQUAL IN FUNCTION.

      Reply
  2. j pannekoek   October 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I agree with Jessica. This piece was a complete trivialization of a history of socio-economic denigration of women in the West, and viewing popular culture portrayals of women as progressive is an enormous and unfounded misinterpretation. This rings especially true when you realize that the TV shows the author invoked are created and produced by males, feature title characters which are all (white, Capitalist) males, and which reproduce as entertainment the central tenets of patriarchy. The invocation of a patriarchal religious institution in the demand for the continuation of the status quo (of gender essentialism and inequality) does not help the author’s case either. Calling “enough is enough” on an issue of equality – and assuming equality where it does not exist – is an option only available to those who are in a position of privilege.

    Reply
  3. Emma   October 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I do agree with you that painting men as incompetent doesn’t serve the cause of equality. And that’s why true feminists don’t support that stereotype. It only flips the inequality coin. But the stereotype is also extremely mild compared to the assumptions under which women labor:
    1. We are ultimately responsible for all domestic labor.
    2. Our hormones cripple our ability to make good decisions.
    3. We are out of our league in the workplace and therefore not entitled to equal pay for equal work.
    4. Our bodies are public property be used, abused, oggled, assessed, violated, and used as social capital.

    I could go on all day about the ways in which women are hobbled by the stereotypes and assumptions that they themselves believe. Feminists don’t want a “turn” to denigrate men. We want to be treated like humans, a goal that, for some reason, you seem to believe has already been…

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    • Emma   October 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      achieved.

      Reply
  4. Anon   October 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Wait a second, your last sentence doesn’t concord with anything you said before. This was an article about how women are progressing in their empowerment, but now men are being affected by media which is limiting their potential.

    And then, somehow it ends with women being the subject of this. When did you establish the connection between this new trend in media, and women being directly responsible? How does the progress of woman directly cause media institutions to create limiting stereotypes of men?

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc?
    non sequitur?

    Reply
  5. Dominic Delgado   October 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Even from my perspective I just find this idea to be just plain silly. Men aren’t being emasculated and honestly women go through much worse than us. At least we aren’t repressed for looks, and other issues that women go through that we don’t. I don’t even watch much of the media today since it’s already just garbage to begin with why are you bothering with it? Why care what the media has to say? Plus don’t use the church as an example that’s only shooting yourself in the foot seeing that the establishment is already demeaning to women enough as it is. Plus men have been overpowering women for a very very very long time why are you surprised that women are fighting back and giving back a taste of our own medicine? My advice: quit your whining, get over it, and ignore the negative stereotypes. Everyone goes through those and they learn to ignore it or fight back like women are now.

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  6. Levi Taylor   October 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I admire you for airing some very personal grievances about the changing roles of men. Indeed, change is hard, even when it’s for the best, and I understand your frustration. It’s important to remember that feminism is about the right of all people to define their identities free of the constraints traditionally attributed to them because of their gender. Picking on either gender is certainly an ever-growing theme in popular media that indulge us in our prejudices, but it goes both ways. You make some great observations about sitcoms and advertisements that misrepresent men, but you should be careful not to turn a blind eye toward misrepresentations of women (all three of your examples have them), or to blame bitterness on the feminist movement. Feminism attempts to end the power struggle and let people be people regardless of their gender, not to fan the flames that keep them apart.

    Reply
    • Francois T.   February 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Levi, I completely agree with you, especially the part about lifting constraints traditionally attributed to my gender. As a man, in the past my gender might have obliged to provide and care for a woman, and contribute to housing and child-rearing and so on. But for a few years now, I have taken the feminist teachings as my own. Instead of buying a house, a buddy and I bought revenue property. Instead of going for a family, I’m working on my second graduate degree. Instead of settling down, I’ve kept in shape and enjoy casual sex. I’ve become selfish to the needs of the other gender. And you know what? It worked: Behaving like this in my thirties has gotten me plenty of opportunity and lots of attention from beautiful women. I can choose to settle on my own time and terms now. The future looks good.

      If all men could simply learn to do the same, men too would all discover our…

      Reply
  7. Meg N   October 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Like the posters above, I do agree that media portrays of men can be unfair—just as they can be toward women.

    To be “emasculated,” you must define what it means to be “masculine.” If you’re defining “masculine” as “adhering to traditional gender roles, where the man is the financial provider, the decision maker, and the overall leader,” then sure, you’re being emasculated. Why does being emasculated based on those standards have to be a negative thing, though? The very concept of emasculation is sexist—because it defines certain roles (such as leadership positions) as masculine. If men are being emasculated, that would mean that women are being “masculated,” which means they are gaining more power and influence—so having power and influence is what it means to be male? Emasculation seems to entail giving up exclusive power and influence, which doesn’t seem like a…

    Reply
    • Jessica Squires   November 3, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Really great points about emasculation and how it is a sexist term in and of itself!

      Reply
  8. Chad   October 30, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I myself am a member of the LDS Church. Jessica, J,Dominic, I’m sorry that you believe this religious institution is degrading to women. Bryce Jolley probably should have clarified Elder Christofferson’s statement in a more detailed manner. I can’t speak for the Church itself, but being a devoted member of its congregation know for a fact that it does not degrade women. In fact, it constantly refers to women as being “angels” who bless the lives of others and family. We believe that one of the worst things we can do is take a life, and one of the best things we can do is give life. You may look at our belief of women being the lifeblood of the home as degrading, but we see it as being the best thing anyone can do on this earth; giving life and raising the future leaders of tomorrow to have morals and full of good character. The family IS the answer to most issues we as a society…

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  9. Meg N   November 21, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Chad, with all due respect, I’d like to point out that the LDS Church holding women, arguably, above men and as “angels” is an example of something called benevolent sexism. From a Science Daily article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004121314.htm): [There are] “negative consequences [to] attitudes that idealize women as pure, moral, pedestal-worthy objects of men’s adoration, protection, and provision. People who endorse benevolent sexism feel positively toward women, but only when women conform to highly traditional ideals about ‘how women should be.'”

    From your comment, it seems that the LDS Church praises women highly for being mothers—or, in other words, conforming to a traditional standard—but what about women who choose not to be mothers? Even saying that being a wife and mother is the crowning aspect of a woman’s existence is extremely limiting…

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  10. Stephen   February 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    True this !

    And just wait until you go to court for not only
    divorce but any other man vs woman.

    Justice is not blind.
    It has a heavy hand on the scale favoring women.

    A woman can be so lazy that she never works yet
    she is protected by laws which ignore the fact
    that she is a gold digger or just plain nuts.

    The legislature has determined that she has monetary compensation value even if she has
    not produced any offspring.

    This man v women meme is pandemic.
    Art imitates life.
    What you see on TV is not the representation of a counter-culture but a reflection of current beliefs.

    Reply
  11. Kirsten   September 5, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Have we, almost en masse, started raping and killing you?? Are women flocking to internet pornography depicting the most debased, dehumanizing images of men??? Are we kidnapping and murdering your children?? NO!! We’re NOT. Let me know when the systematic murder of men starts happening…we’ll talk then. Until that happens, stop whining…..and begin being a real man!

    Reply

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