“Bros before hos, The guy code”, is a piece by Michael Kimmel, published on the Anthology portable legacies on 2009; On this piece Kimmel explains what The guy code is and how these code defines guys masculinity in today’s society and how society expects guys to behave. Kimmel also explains that young boys are taught these rules by a male figure in their lives at a very young age and they grow up with the pressure of having to follow these rules no matter what. The guy code is a collection of rules, traits and values that make a man. “What is a man?” was the question asked to teenagers in their late teens and early 20’s. Where their answers were things like: “Boy’s don’t cry”, “Don’t get mad – Get even”, “Take it like a man”, and many more.
Kimmel then proceeds and gives the four rules that have been summarized by Robert Brannon, a social psychologist of the 1970s. Some of these rules are: “No sissy stuff!”, “Be a Big Wheel”, “Be a Sturdy Oak”, “Give ’em Hell”. (655) These rules supposedly define masculinity and that one a man disobeys those rules, the risk is being bullied with words like “fagot” and “gay” that are used as an insult to describe a man’s weakness. The guy code also creates competition between most men, from playing the best sports, better jobs, pretties girl, nicer cars, etc. and it has been like this from a long time ago due to men wanting the power, respect, and that image of being better than the other man. Creating the image that all men are supposed to be unemotional, powerful and successful beings. Kimmel also claims that in the future, the guy code causes social and psychological problems for boys and young men.
Renteria 2 Men have been taught this guy code ever since they were young boys; their uncles, grandpas, dad, coaches, peers or any male figure in a mans life are the ones that start tell little boys to “man up” or “don’t cry” and is no longer able to cry or show emotion, leading to their behavior in the future. The little kids learn to always hold in their emotion and to never show weakness. Kimmel then gives an example of how boys are introduced to the guy code: A three year old boy that was crying at the barbershop because he was burnt by hot chemicals. The barber said to the boys dad, he was a wimp for crying and he needed to stay away from his mom and the boys dad decided after that, his child was spending more time with him and less time with his mother because he was scared of his son being a mamas boy. (659) As a child grows up and parents push them to be strong and tough by keeping them away from their mothers nurturing.
Kimmel also talks about the “Gender Police” that is basically other guys around them who watch and judge how they act , what they wear and say even how they walk because with a little natural swing on their hips they could be called a “fag” making homosexuality seems as a weakness. The gender police makes them feel like they are ust waiting for someone else to screw up, for someone to wear something pink or acting a little bit feminine. and just putting standards for each other, forcing themselves and guys around them to create a fake cover where they act rough and manly around each other. This judgments make man feel like they are being watched because of the fear of being ridiculed and humiliated by their peers. Kimmel said that men are more about what other men think about them; however the judgment from girls because as a girl the social media taught us to be attracted to tough guys,for example in any Disney movie where the superhero is the dependable, rich, handsome, muscular guy who takes care and provides everything for the girl, creating an idea that masculinity is success, wealth and power.
Renteria 3 Peers are another big influence and problem of this “guy code”. Another example from the article is about Don,a former Lehigh College football player, who discuses the effects of always having to put up a front and act tough in front of his teammates and his coaches. He says that his coach would always make fun of or humiliate any one of his players for showing any sign of weakness or fatigue. Don says “I’m sure he thought he was building up our strength and ability to play, but it wore me out trying to pretend all the time, to suck it up and just take it.”(656) If a guy doesn’t follow the rules in the guy code he will be criticized by other man, often times bullied, and lose friends which leads to low self-stem. Men are scared of what other men will say or think about them regardless of the situation.
While the Guy Code may have been meant to make men stronger it causes more harm than good turning out more self destructive in the end It causes them to grow up thinking that showing emotion is never an option, which leads them to depression, and emotion issues, aggression towards themselves and the ones around them. Kimmel’s article is really good, since it talks about a topic that need to be discussed more; it gives examples and even talks about of where the problem begins; but it still seems quite limited to me since as Kimmel explains what the guy code is, it still does not apply to all man, for the reasons that for some guys, the guy code is just a challenge or a phase where they learn how to express their emotions, also the question that were being asked only cover white middle class man that live in a certain area, In America there’s a great variety of immigrants coming from places all around the world, also if Kimmel had questioned people from a less homophobic part of the country, then there would be a better chance of getting a more gender equal survey.
Kimmel, Michael. “Bros before hos, The guy code.” Anthology Portable Legacies 2nd edition. Ed. Jan Zlotnik Schmidt and Lynne Crockett. Boston, MA, 2009. 654 – 669. Print.