Masculinity and How It Oppresses Gender

Topics: Gender, Homosexuality, Sociology Pages: 7 (2457 words) Published: April 13, 2011
Masculinity: How it oppresses gender.

When we look at our peers we can tell their sex immediately, this can also be said about their gender, we can see whether a person is heterosexual or homosexual in the ways they walk, talk, dress and by the people they associate with, most importantly we can tell their gender from the way they use their body. These displays of one’s gender can oppress almost every facet of the human race, as masculinity and femininity either heterosexual or homosexual each have their own stereotypes. Sometimes a person’s display of gender can be rewarding for them in society as it fits the norm and is socially acceptable. This essay focuses firstly on how the body is gendered and oppressed by the construct of masculinity as introduced by Alexandra Howson (2004) and how typical genders of these sexes homosexual and heterosexual are oppressed into conforming to western societal norms. The Human body is used as a canvas for the performance of gender and this essay will unpack how the human body takes on masculine roles. Secondly this essay will unpack homosexual men in particular who don’t fit the social norm of homosexuality as introduced by Chris Kendall and Wayne Martino (2006) and how I have reflected on my own body and that of my peers and how my perceptions have altered and accommodated a view of understanding that is free of prejudice.

In order for us to understand the difference between sex and gender we need to find the distinction that separates them. Sex is with regard to the human body and what body parts a person has; it refers to the physical genital features of a person as put by Howson (2004) “Sex is stable, natural and immutable. It is something we can see, feel and touch” (A. Howson 2004) Reproductive organs are the main aspect of a human body that we use to determine a person’s sex and classify them primarily as male or female. However, this does not classify one’s gender, gender is thought of as “psychological and the social difference between men and women” (A. Howson 2004), but this aspect does leave room for the psychological and social to differentiate not only between men and women but also men and other men and women and other women. There are men that claim that although they are men physically, but psychologically they are women trapped in a man’s body, this applies to women as well. These people can be seen as gender oppressed individuals, oppressed by masculinity and femininity as the norm suggests that a person’s sex and their sexuality (Masculine or Feminine) goes hand in hand, that being that males being sexually attracted to females and females being sexually attracted to males.

The gender oppressed are classified as homosexuals, transsexuals, heterosexual women and metrosexual men. These people are oppressed because society sees them as abnormal and unnatural according to the attributes of masculinity and femininity, society shuns anything that is out of the ordinary, and anything that deviates from the natural reproductive cycle of males and females. The body in this context is a tool for the oppressed to express themselves individually. Homosexual men use their bodies in some cases to portray an image of femininity and delicacy, the Homosexual women however does the opposite, these women use masculine movements and gestures with their body to portray themselves in a more manly light. However pressure to conform to societal norms is so great that homosexuals limit their sexuality to only a private practice, western society has made these people fear to be themselves, they are rejected and severely frowned upon for expressing their natural gender. Homosexual men are expected to keep to the masculine ideal, by acting macho, never displaying effeminate gestures. It is the ideal to behave like a man’s man, even in the 21st century after the gay rights movement, gays and lesbians and still forced to literally hide their sexuality for the fear of violence....
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