By Suzanne MacNevin.
I don't think much about how our gender-based society restricts men. I usually think about all the crap that men stick us women through. We are stuck with negative stereotypes of either being uptight bitches, sluts, mindless twits/blondes, useless, weak, etc, ect...
We know all of that is bullshit too. They are just stereotypes based upon a patriarchy dominated belief system. They are false.
In contrast, there are also stereotypes about men, and social conditioning crap that men go through too, although admittedly they got the dominant end of this perversity.
The crap men go through are as follows:
*** The top dog theory refers to homosexuality amongst dogs (and monkeys) which will rape each other in order to prove their dominance. The dog on the top is "superior". Amongst monkeys, they can actually create "ladders" as multiple monkeys climb on top of each and fuck each other up the ass all at the same time. The monkey at the top is the "king of the castle and the rest are dirty rascals".
By this point, you should have a good idea of what I am getting at here. Men are repressed as much as women are, perhaps not entirely equally depending on the type of society you live in, but there are definitely problems they need to work out.
Androgyny theory states that masculine and feminine ARE NOT polar opposites. They are completely different X and Y scales (ironic how math is even sexual). The following chart lists things that are considered to be stereotypical masculine and feminine traits, as well as traits that are neutral. An androgynous person would have a high number of both masculine and feminine traits, and someone who is nongendered would have a low number of traits in both M and F.
There are men who fall into the androgyny category. These are people that we generally look up to in society. Many male doctors are androgynous because they are assertive and compassionate at the same time. Diddo for female doctors.
The nongendered people are typically those we look down upon in society. They are unambitious, unassertive, unfeeling, and to some extent seem to fill up the holes in society. Loners.
Androgyny theory tends to upset some people, because they point out that not everyone can be assertive/gentle/etc, and also because it bases itself on the very stereotypes of what we consider to be masculine and feminine. This is true. Not everyone can be androgynous. But what androgyny theory does reveal is how deeply rooted gender is in our society. It shows people that there is definite problem with the stereotypes that we apply to masculinity and femininity.
Ever since the 1980s there has been talk of men "exploring their feminine sides". This is ridiculed and is oftimes bullshit on the part of the mass media, but really it is a reference to androgyny amongst men. Women are increasingly more androgynous than men, and their abilities are not going unnoticed.
FACT: Androgynous people are 90% more likely to be better paid and happy with their life than masculine or feminine people. Nongendered people tend to be miserable (depressing, isn't it?) and are the most repressed.
In the market place, 70% of all new automobiles that were bought in the last 5 years were bought by women. This trend is so well-known now that the car companies are deliberately marketing towards women's needs. 74% of Canada's GNP is produced by women. In the US, the figure is 72%. 65% of the North American consumer marketplace is dominated by women. Androgyny amongst women during the last 30 years has resulted in a remarkable increase in women's economic power.
For androgynous men, their economic power has also increased. Homosexual men (who are usually androgynous) currently make an average 23% more than heterosexual men and are 36% more likely to be happier with their love lives.
There are many groups related to the growing number of androgynous men, but the figures are slim in contrast to the vast number of androgynous women. Many don't even realize they are androgynous or semi-androgynous until they take an Androgyny psychology test.
If you seek more information, try looking for more information on the American Men's Studies Association, The Psychology Association of America, The National Center for Men, NOMAS, or Wingspan.
There is also music which refers to people growing up and becoming socialized into our adult-gender society. Children defy gender in contrast. You can download music by Leah-Carla Gordone such as "Butterfly Child" or Dar Williams' "When I Was A Boy". Dar Williams' song is especially good, as she recounts what it was like as a child, but her male partner also recounts what it was like for him to be a "girl".
The painting "Crying" from Charles Moffat's Hermaphroditus/Salmacis Series also refers to this.