What do we Assume about Men?

In watching the documentary “Killing Us Softly 4” in class, the portal of women in print advertisements is heavily discussed as being unrealistic and inaccurate. These prints don’t accurately represent women of different races and sizes. Something I felt that the movie was fast to look over was that these print ads have a damaging affect on men as well, a fact that was quickly brushed over in the movie. To think that these images of men with perfect bodies and masculine looking faces, don’t cause men to have insecurities or feel under pressure to look a certain way as much as females is to cater into a general stereotype about men as well.  In not acknowledging men as sensitive creatures who can just as easily be influenced by the media, we cater into a certain stereotype of men not giving into social pressure because of their assumed “tough” or “strong” character.  These images of men also almost always assume  the male is white, masculine, and has heterosexual desires. These ads may be looked over in the movie because it is assumed females will have a harder time in seeing and trying to live up to these unhealthy expectations. What assumptions than do we automatically make about gender even as we are critiquing it? As we try to understand these unfair images put forward by the media, do we also ask men to unfairly not be affected by these prints? 

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One Response to What do we Assume about Men?

  1. mikeal0102 says:

    I really agree with your points here and I too believe that a lot of the literature and especially this documentary really brush over male image issues. Although it may be true that women are more subject to abuse by the media I do believe that such computer enhanced idealism is quickly spreading to male depictions. Even more so, male eating disorders are on the rise with many pro-anna websites springing up on the internet. Sites such as this one (http://s289.beta.photobucket.com/user/zyxthorn/media/Thin/20080227154609990004.jpg.html) are a prime example of this, providing thinspiration for other males looking to shed a few pounds. Like you said, men too are made to feel vulnerable about their bodies as they too can be too fat or too lean.

    In addition to this, advertisements present this ideal masculinity with musculature so defined you could almost store things in the crevices of a models abdominal muscles. Logically, we know that these images are photoshoped as no about of time spent in the gym can produce a body like that, but generally that is not the first thing one thinks of when they see the giant Calvin Klein billboards that appear on the streets. Like you, I think men deserve some more attention in regards to this matter of inquiry especially because (as you mentioned) not all men are “tough” or “strong” and can be affected by these false depictions just as drastically as their female counterparts.

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