Before I go on, a shout out to Tricky for her intelligent and well-researched response to Todd on my last post. I was all kinds of annoyed when I read it but didn't have a chance to look into a well-thought-out reply. Hearty thanks, lass.
Now, have a look at this article-type-deal from The Guardian. It's a bit old (soooooo 2008), but very relevant.
Dude argues about how gender stereotypes affect men and are damaging. My favourite paragraph:
"Men should embrace these principles too, not only for women's sake but also for their own. All else being equal, to be born male is to inherit legacies of entitlement that continue to outweigh those bestowed on those born female. Yet the state of maleness carries its own burden of expectations and constraints. Contemporary studies of boyhood shed light on what we've always known – what I still remember vividly from my own boyhood – about the disabling and limiting influence of male behaviour conventions, homophobia and general "gender policing" on men in the making and the huge anxieties that inform them."
Yup. True. I wish more men knew how limiting gender stereotypes are for them. I think the reason it so often goes unidentified in men is that it seems to affect a minority. Straight male figure skaters, for example. And some of those stereotypes aren't easily identified by virtue of stepping outside the house -- like how some men feel it's acceptable to comment on my appearance because I have breasts. The same just doesn't happen for men.
So, please, take a look at the article and have a think the next time you open your mouth about what "being a man" is all about. It certainly shouldn't be a simple definition.