What is our society look like in term of difference and power between the male and female? Are there any changes in the 21st century in our society? I have read the Social Organization of Masculinity, written by Connell, R.W, and the Pigskin, Patriarchy, and Pain, written by Don Sabo in my American Studies class. After reading both articles, I think they are both talking in the same topics that are the masculinity and patriarchy ideal.
The Social Organization of Masculinity is the great chapter that is written by R.W. Connell. In this chapter, Connell tries to define masculinity. The author argues that the masculinity term is borrowed from the European, and it is related to novel concept. He mentions four strategies including the essentialist strategy, the positivistic, the normative, and semiotic to recognize masculinity. However, he uses the complex symbolic system instead of using these four strategies. Connell connects the masculinity back to the gender as social constructing. He states, “Gender is manner in which social practices are organize.” (Connell) He describes gender as the active manner that changes through out history. From that, he argues about the patriarchy, in which men will control the financial, political and symbolic gain most of the time. Therefore, the combination between the patriarchy and masculinity idea gives male more dominant and competitive. In our society, they will tend to create more violence over other.
In the Pigskin, Patriarchy, and Pain article, Sabo used the football as a specific example to demonstrate the pain principle among the man society. He told us the stories about his early age when he wanted to try out the football at his school. He started building up his muscle and experienced the pain from practicing. He continued his college football career and ended up with back surgery. He used Connell’s theories to expand his idea through the pain principle and patriarchy. In his article, he explained the pain principle is more important than the pleasure. Sabo explained that he did not see himself as an athlete whose career was ended by the surgery, but he saw himself as a man who was swallowed up by the social system based on male domination.
However, Sabo is not an only one person who is forced by social construction. They wanted to stand out among other men in the society. They are chasing the masculine picture such as great abs, bigger biceps, or chest because they think a man needs to be tough and strong. Nowadays, men spend hours at the gym to compete with others. Who has more sweat? Who experiences more pain? And who does have more muscle and bigger muscle? They can also boost their muscle by using the protein shake or chemical substances. Most of them don’t know or won’t even care about the consequences by using toxic chemical product. They use pain as the scale to measure the masculinity among all men. For example, a few days ago, I heard shocking news. One of my friends Doan, passed away at age of 18. He died because he worked out by himself at home and the weight just dropped right on his neck when he tried to rest it on the rack. The main purpose of doing gym is getting healthy, but by the social construction, masculinity just forces men get into the twist where they have to become better than others to be a tough and strong man in the society.
Moreover, the patriarchy was the main theme that both Sabo and Connell focused on the most. The patriarchy becomes a driving force in our society. What is the patriarchy? Sabo used Connell’s article as the note fro him to write his story. Patriarchy also refers to a system of government by males, and to the dominance of men in social or culture system. In our society, patriarchy is applied among us. Sabo also used the pain principle to show people that the male is dominated. The male usually is the one who makes the final decision in most of the cases. For example, in most American family, the husband will be the head in the house. They run the family, give order in the family. The husband has to make more money, and has the control over the family finances.
Our society is shaped into that structure; therefore, patriarchy creates more issue. Males always have better job with the better salary/wages than female. Males also have more opportunities to held the better job position in our society. In our government system, we can observe that the majority is the male compare to the female. Men are more competitive than women. Men train themselves to be tough, strong, and aggressive to face to any extreme cases. Because of the patriarchy, men are responsible for the war, criminals, and violent cases among us. They have power over other gender in American society. The idea just passes from generation to generation continuously. To be a tough, strong, and smart guy, the young boys were taught and trained to be. I’m the best example for patriarchy ideal. This idea doesn’t limit in one society but it is spread out around the world. I came from Vietnam where patriarchy idea is supported strongly. In my early age, my dad taught me that I need to be strong, and always think wisely. I can’t just cry as my sisters do because a man will show his weakness through his tear.
For the conclusion, as we live in our society, is there anything we can do to make our society more equal between male and female? By reading these two articles, I think Connell and Sabo describe the true and real life in the 21st century. However, as an individual, we can start treat your friend or wife, and female co-workers better to improve this power and difference issues in our society.