What is it to be a man?
To be a man from the biological perspective is to have the chromosomes and genitals of a male. However, as time has proceeded to go on the perception of being a man has become distorted. Sex is in no way a stable identity anymore. The gender label that a person receives is from the way a person behaves (Butler, 1999). Gender labels are given through societies teachings and in today’s day many men do not conform to the model of masculinity (Butler, 1999).
Although gender has changed over time many men can be criticised for not meeting the requirements of being masculine. Men are becoming less ‘dominant’ and ‘macho’ which are attributes of being a ‘man’ in today’s society (O'Donnell, 1997).In modern terms the word masculine is often associated with traits such as aggressiveness, protectiveness, strength and provision. If a man does not have these traits can he be classed in society as a male? This is a question that society throughout the ages has embedded. Society defines there must be measurable traits for a man to be a classed as masculine (Butler, 1999).
The Functionalist view on masculinity lays within the fact that traditional gender roles help to integrate society. Men who traditionally work for paid labour play their part in the gender roles that can be pre-determined. They are viewed as the ‘stronger sex’, the provider, the hunter/ gatherer. Larger societies also gender role conform. The societies instil that members of the male sex fear they will not be attractive to women if they are perceived to be overly feminine and this has a counteractive effect; that women are not attractive and feminine within paid labour roles as they are deemed masculine. Functionalists teach the essential features of femininity and masculinity and integrates society allowing it to function (Brym and Lie, 2005).
Marxism is a theory which analyses the ruling class as well as proletariat, feminism is a theory which analyses men as well as women (May, Strikwerda and Hopkins, 1996). It is not that Marxism focuses purely on class and feminism with gender it is the common ground of power for men which provides a contribution for the oppression of women (May, Strikwerda and Hopkins, 1996). Inequality in work placements within Marxism empowers men and the men of society become dominant. The social structure of Marxism is that the bourgeoisie must remain at the top of the social chain by putting the men to work and earning money from production (May, Strikwerda and Hopkins, 1996). By these living norms women become oppressed and this is begins to touch on the feminist view of being a man (May, Strikwerda and Hopkins, 1996). The feminist view looks at how a man over empowers a woman and a feminist will begin to prove how a woman is equal (May, Strikwerda and Hopkins, 1996).