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Author Topic: Men fight the stereotype
Salamander
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From news.com.au:
quote:
MENINISM is the catchcry of a movement of males who will storm the streets and burn their ties, rallying against the "all men are bastards" image that has an entire sex pigeonholed as violent, heartless and untrustworthy.
quote:
The research shows almost 70 per cent of social commentary on the male gender is unfavourable – portraying men as violent, sexually abusive, unable to be trusted with children, "deadbeat dads" and commitment-phobic.

In the largest Australian study of its kind, Dr Jim Macnamara analysed more than 2000 media articles and programs and found men were mostly positioned as villains, aggressors, perverts or philanderers.

Egads... I'm so not sure where I stand on this one.

There are times when, as a male, I find myself feeling guilty for no other reason than the fact that I'm a man. I dislike the feeling immensely because I feel we should each be judged on our individual actions. Yet for the most part I find it pretty hard to think that I'm getting the raw end of the deal when compared to women.

What I can wholeheartedly agree with is that modern media seems to be filled with negative stereotypes. Is it a backlash against the artificially wholesome "Leave it to Beaver" era? Aren't we over that yet? Are there still people out there that think any family issue can neatly be resolved in 30 minutes (minus commercials), or can we perhaps get into the "real" realism -- that sometimes bad people can do good, good people can do bad and just about everybody else is a little of both?

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"victory thru self-deception"

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Logoboros
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Hmm:

quote:
According to Dr Macnamara, even the positive images of men in the media are delivered as a backhanded compliment with there being only one version of the "good men"; the sensitive metrosexual who is in touch with his feminine side.

Not much to choose from really; the unemotional, aggressive commitment freak or the moisturised, dithering doormat.

Interesting how this author frames the non-hypermasculine positive role model as something negative. So, we need more "options" for men, but heaven forbid the "sensitive man," that "dithering doormat" be one of them!

This quote also gets me:
quote:

"I'm very, very conscious that there is a set of masculine stereotypes; are they a sports brain? Straight? Gay?"

That's all the stereotypes she can come up with? "Straight" and "Gay" constitute master-level categories of masculine typology? Even if you reduced all female stereotypes to a core "Virgin/Whore" dichotomy, that's a hell of a lot more nuanced of a broad brush than Straight/Gay.

It looks like this movement is just another flavor of Robert Bly's Iron John stuff -- built not around really creating new roles for men but reclaiming and revaluing the old, primal alpha male chest-beating essentializing crap.

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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Spooky Cactus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
What I can wholeheartedly agree with is that modern media seems to be filled with negative stereotypes. Is it a backlash against the artificially wholesome "Leave it to Beaver" era? Aren't we over that yet? Are there still people out there that think any family issue can neatly be resolved in 30 minutes (minus commercials), or can we perhaps get into the "real" realism -- that sometimes bad people can do good, good people can do bad and just about everybody else is a little of both?

Probably the negative sterotypes stem from the fact that you're 'allowed', so to speak, to make fun of the opressor group in any 'ism' and not the opressed. You can laugh at men but not women, white people but no other skin colours, Christians but not Jews/Hindus/Buddists/etc (Islam being an issue all of its own). Maybe that's bad, but a lot of people still aren't ready to see a return of anything that could be seen as a racist or sexist. Perhaps eventually, if real-life discrimination can be eliminated, it will be safe to make fun of anyone you want for entertainment purposes.

That's not what these guys are about. They're pissed because the old-fashioned patriarchial model of masculinity is no longer generally seen as desirable. They don't more options, they want a return to the fifties, and I say screw 'em.

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'When the world is dead and gone, we will still be Rocking On!' (J.P.McCartney)

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LeaflessMapleTree
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See, I agree with what the author is hilighting as problems, but I don't think that creating another "ism" is going to solve the problem. I think each of the points needs to be addressed.


edited to add
quote:
Probably the negative sterotypes stem from the fact that you're 'allowed', so to speak, to make fun of the opressor group in any 'ism' and not the opressed. You can laugh at men but not women, white people but no other skin colours, Christians but not Jews/Hindus/Buddists/etc (Islam being an issue all of its own).
I think that a big reason why a lot of men are hesitant to hop aboard the feminist train is the fact that people (not feminists specifically) use the dichotomy of men=opressors, women=oppressed. The second one is correct, but the first is misleading. It implies that:

a) all men are responsible for the oppression of women
b) women are never responsible for the oppression of women

Of course males are oppressing females, but the immediate reaction to such a dichotomy is for an individual male to think "I don't oppress women!" and feel falsely accused.

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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The important thing to remember is that this is an editorial about research that has been done. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Jim Macnamara is not advocating for the return of the chest-thumping alpha male but simply indicating that the media has an extensively negative stereotype for men.

Most of the "colour" comes directly from the journalist herself.

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

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trollface
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I don't think that any meaningful conversation can be had on the subject until we know the percentage of portrayals of women in the media that are negative.

The real conclusion may simply be "the media is negative". Which, I'm sure, would earn a "well, duh" from many quarters.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
The media's limiting rendering of men is alarming says the University of Western Sydney academic because social policy works hand in hand with social stereotyping.
The media limits rendering of everyone. Especially commercials. Commercials are populated by walking stereotypes. We've hashed that out before, I believe. So why is this suddenly a concern?

I know I'd like to see competent men in commercials, right alongside moms who don't cheerfully clean up the messes their kids make on purpose, but instead hand the little brats the cleaner du jour and a roll of paper towels.

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My blog. The Adventures of the Fish O'Thwacking.
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Blue Fuzzy Thing
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Nothing to add, I just find it amusing that they are protesting the "men are violent, heartless and untrustworthy" stereotype by going out and burning ties.

I get this mental image of some guy thinking "I'm not violent, heartless and untrustworthy! So angry! I must set fire to something!" [Razz]

OK, continue your serious discussion.

Blue Fuzzy Thing

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
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quote:
Originally posted by Blue Fuzzy Thing:
I get this mental image of some guy thinking "I'm not violent, heartless and untrustworthy! So angry! I must set fire to something!" [Razz]

Odd, isn't it? I used to be pretty active in debates with some of these geniuses on another site. The logic was just incredible. They'd complain about the stereotypes and reinforce them all at once, and always find a way to blame it all on feminists. After a while I realized that they didn't really have a problem with the stereotypes; they just didn't think it was a bad thing to see men that way. In fact, it was a bad thing to see men any other way.

--------------------
Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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TurquoiseGirl
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I think the burning ties is similar to the apochryphal women burning bras as a sign of oppression. From what I understand, ties can be very uncomfortable.

Logoboros, I agree that there need to be more options than "straight/gay" "hypermasculine/doormat."

I see many fine examples of men who have chosen other options on these boards every day.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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JFB
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
The real conclusion may simply be "the media is negative". Which, I'm sure, would earn a "well, duh" from many quarters.

quote:
Originally posted by Minstrel Nereid:
The media limits rendering of everyone.

Precisely. The entire "Meninist" position is unsupportable until someone shows any group of people consistently portrayed favorably by the media.

J "For a second there I thought the Mennonites were up in arms about something" FB

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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Here is a link to Dr. Macnamara's doctoral thesis, which appears to be the "study" in question. It looks interesting, although it's almost 300 pages, so not exactly light reading. I'll probably peruse it over the evening and post with thoughts. Interestingly, he spelled a word wrong in his abstract, spelling "focusing" as "focussing." Unless this is some Australian spelling unkown to me, that's terrible that such an error wasn't caught in the abstract of a doctoral thesis.


A total aside, but I am no engaging in avoidance behavior at its finest. I am not putting of research in the academic literature by doing research in the academic literature.


ETA: Here is the abstract to the thesis. It is interesting to note that he was a candidate for (and obtained) his Doctorate in Philosophy for this work. This doesn't seem like philosophy to me, more like sociology, but maybe things are different in Aussiville?

quote:
ABSTRACT
Gender has been identified as a key element of human identity. Feminism has focussed
particular attention on gender issues over the past five decades. But, as Seidler (1994),
Katz (1995) and Nathanson and Young (2001) note, gender discourse has been dominated
by discussion of women and women’s issues. Seidler says “feminists have somehow set
the agenda for men’s studies” as well as women studies (p. 112).
Mass media have been identified as key sites of discourse in feminist studies. Numerous
studies have examined representations of women in mass media and argued that these have
significant effects on women, on men, and on societies – eg. Baumgardner and Richards
(2000); Humm (1977); Kaplan (1983); Maio (1991); Stirling (1987); Tuchman (1978); and
Weatherall (1996).
Some studies have examined representations of men in mass media including Gunter
(1995); Jackson, Stevenson and Brooks (2001); Nathanson and Young (2001); Schirato
and Yell (1999); and Stevenson, Jackson and Brooks (2000). A number of researchers have
found that the treatment of men in mass media is not unproblematic. Connell (2000) cites
Segal (1987) who says that feminist-led discourses have presented “pictures of men as
rapists, batterers, pornographers, child abusers, militarists, exploiters, and images of
women as targets and victims”. In their 2001 text, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of
Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, Nathanson and Young provided evidence of
marginalising and “demonising” of men in the mass media. Faludi (2000) in Stiffed: The
Betrayal of Modern Man acknowledges: “In the past half century, Madison Avenue,
Hollywood and the mass media have operated relentlessly on men, too” (p. 41).
But studies of representations of men have been far fewer than those focussing on women.
Furthermore, some media content analyses have been limited or unreliable because of
small samples or lack of methodological rigor, according to Neuendorf (2002). While their
research was ground-breaking, utilising systematic formal analysis, Nathanson and Young
(2001) acknowledged in their preface that the methodology they used was “not scientific”
(p. x).
This study was conducted to contribute to a significant gap in research of gender
representations in mass media and to further investigate growing evidence that men are
being represented in negative and potentially damaging ways. It involved rigorous
quantitative and qualitative analysis of representations of men and male identities in a large
sample of top-rating news, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media. The sample was
specifically selected from these mass media forms and genre as they have been identified
as the most influential and, paradoxically, under-studied (Newbold, Boyd-Barrett & Van
Den Bulck, 2002; Gauntlett, 2002).
The findings of this study highlight issues that should be of serious concern in health,
education, the media, gender studies, and social policy making. Analysis found men are
overwhelmingly represented in negative ways, predominantly portrayed as aggressive and
violent thieves, thugs, murderers, wife and girlfriend bashers, sexual abusers, molesters,
perverts, irresponsible ‘deadbeat dads’ and philanderers, even though, in reality, only a
small proportion of men act out these roles and behaviours. This study concludes that men
are widely demonised, marginalised, trivialised and objectified. The potential social
implications are discussed in light of the influence of these mass media and proposed as an
area for further study.
This study was conducted in Australia, but included a number of international publications
and programs in its sample, giving it findings resonance for other contemporary western
societies where the same or similar mass media content is consumed.

I hate to say it, but overall the thesis seems to be not that well written. That's only after a quick perusal, and maybe I'll change my mind, but it seems pretty shoddy work for a doctoral thesis.

ETA2: Chapter 3 (Section 4) of the thesis is pretty interesting - it talks about fairly modern TV shows and movies. Kinda fun. A lot of it seems like bullcrap, of course, but I tend to think that about a lot of this type of analysis.

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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I found this interesting:
quote:
From Ch. 4,p. 4 of the thesis:
In fact, following the repeal of Danish prohibitions against written pornography in 1967 and the ending of film censorship in 1969, the number of sex-related crimes in Denmark declined (Merrill & Lowenstein, 1971, p. 149).

Obviously, as always mentioned on this board, correlation does not equal causation. But it actually makes some sense to me - less built up sexual urges, fewer sexual assaults committed. But these things are so complicated we obviously can't assume causation, due to so many other factors.
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