Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men.
Guyland can be defined as the world in which young men live (Kimmel 2008, pg. 4). It’s a stage these young men go through from the time they hit adolescence to the time they enter manhood (from about 15 to 26). It’s a world where guys just act as guys, untouched by the adult life of parents, jobs, kids, girlfriends, etc. Kimmel (2008) describes it as a “Peter-Pan mindset”, where these kids live in a realm of fun and freedom and never want to grow up. Guyland is the world young men grow up in, and is a passage they navigate through from adolescence to adulthood. It can also be described as what men do for fun. In this world, they do nothing but drink, have sex, talk sports, and play hours upon hours of video games. And so the purpose of this book, is to travel behind the scenes of Guyland. To explore this treacherous journey where young men try to come out on top, and be the man they’re supposed to be. In this book, Kimmel talks very negatively about Guyland. He points out many major problems which I will go into detail about. But before I do, I want to clarify that he agrees that many men in Guyland are nice guys. But, all these nice guys know about the activities their brothers participate in. The earliest and one of the largest problems we see is bullying. This stage in Guyland usually starts up in middle school, and easily transitions into high school. In Guyland, the victims are boys who do not conform to the Guy Code, “The collection of attitudes, values, and traits that compose what it means to be a man.” (Kimmel 2008, pg. 45). The kind of young men who don’t fit the standard are usually nerds, or seem feminine. The men who are are seen as feminine by the guys in power are then classified as gay- and become victims of bullying. And nothing is more demeaning to a man than calling them gay or fag. According to Kimmel, calling another man gay is saying in shorthand, ‘you’re not a man, or you’re not manly enough.’ It’s no wonder it’s the most common put-down in American high schools. Kimmel sais, “It refers to anything and everything: what kind of sneakers you have on, what you’re eating for lunch, some comment you made in class, who your friends are, or what sports team you like.” (Kimmel 2008, pg. 76). An example of this is Jesse Montgomery’s case, where he was seen as gay (even though he is straight) by his classmates. On a daily basis, he was harassed with words like faggot, bitch, pansy, homo, etc. Some students would throw things at him, steal his books, and even super-glued him to his seat. Some of the torment was directly sexual: “One of the students grabbed his own genitals while squeezing [Jesse’s] buttocks and on other occasions would stand behind [him] and grind his penis into [Jesse’s] backside. The same student…pretend to rape him anally…sat on [Jesse’s] lap and bounced while pretending to have intercourse with him.” (Kimmel 2008, pg. 77) The schools do not seem to try and solve the problems these guys have, but stand by and watch, saying to themselves “boys will be boys”. Some of them even pass it off as ok, by not punishing the bullies and tell the victim that “you should try acting less gay, and not showing it so openly.” This is unacceptable, especially in Kimmel’s eyes. He concludes by saying, “These behaviors are not a sign of boys being boys; the serve as evidence that some kids are predators. Saying “Boys will be boys” is worse than letting them off the hook. It encourages them.” (Kimmel 2008, pg. 82). Kimmel feels this all has to stop, for the safety of our children. He feels no child should have to come to school in survival mode, but have confidence and believe they are safe. And I’m sure the fact the he has a son strongly influences his argument, too. I agree with Kimmel’s view on this, and believe the school systems should punish the “predators” with intentions of stopping the whole bully scene at their...
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