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The Percieved Cost’s of Masculinity

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Essay title: The Percieved Cost’s of Masculinity

In the movie Mystic River, director Clint Eastwood attempts to portray the many cultural effects and ramifications of “traditional” masculinity in today’s society. This is seen in the character of Jimmy Markum, who embodies the image of the stereotypical neighborhood “thug” with the slicked back hair, and a face as if it were carved out of marble. The movie’s climax is when Jimmy revengefully slays Dave, his childhood friend, and suspected murderer of Markum’s eldest daughter, Katie. This overwhelming toughness is considered to be one of the costs of masculinity, according to Thompson’s article emphasizing the “new vision of masculinity”. I completely disagree with what Thompson believes to be the negative traits of masculinity.

He states that “The flip side of toughness --nurturance – is not a quality perceived as masculine and thus not valued. “Because of this boys and men experience a greater emotional distance from other people and, few opportunities to participate in meaningful intrapersonal relationships” (105). On the Contrary, I believe that as men, we forge our strongest relationships based on our toughness. We express this toughness through, physical activities, sports and other traditionally masculine hobbies. As seen in the movie, Jimmy, Sean and Dave are friends through the common interest of a competitive sport, hockey. Further proving that through competitive sports the universal pursuit of superiority is instilled in the boys at a young age, thus life long bonds are created.

Thompson also argues that schools need to have a “decreased emphasis on toughness and competition, especially competitive sports” (106). In schools now, everyone gets the purple participation ribbon, this action teaches children that everyone will always win, which in life we all know to be untrue, and there must always be a loser. This false hope, for an unjustifiable honorable mention is, in my mind nothing but a step in the wrong direction towards teaching a boy to be a better man. In my mind, competition is what makes us humans; survival of the fittest has been the underlying constant throughout our existence. This belief is nothing but an “unfit” trait and will be eliminated in due time.

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