Do you think toxic masculinity is helping or hurting the patriarchal levels in society today? Yep just what I assumed, hurting. The words “stand by your man” and, “a woman is less than a man” are so prevalent in today’s generations and need to be stopped. There is much talk about brutality, violations and cruelty in the public discussion of war, but very little talk about men. Yet, factually speaking, it is mainly men who are the practitioners of organized violence as its the workforce at the sharp end.
So, why don’t we all talk about men, masculinity and male cultures of violence much more in the humanitarian world? In the patriarchal society in which the play Romeo and Juliet takes place, there is evidence of Shakespeare’s critique of men modifying themselves to become the “ideal man”. Men are the driving factor behind the risky behaviour that males engage in, this is why the relevance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a great example to be used in school classrooms in the 21st century.
Why the silence? Why aren’t men and masculinity called out much more as the main causes of the terrible abuses and tragedy of armed conflicts – its indiscriminate attacks, inhumane detention and sexual violence? Romeo and Juliet clearly challenges the representation of the “ideal man” through characterisation of Sampson as a typical chauvinistic man of the patriarchal system. Sampson asserts his masculinity through sexual puns that disregard women. “Tis true and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall.
Therefore, I will push Montagues men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.” By associating his masculinity with violence and depicting women as ‘weaker vessels’, Sampson is implying that it is his prerogative as the “ideal man” to take dominance over women. Thus, reflecting the patriarchal ideologies of the Shakespearean society in which men were a dominant force. Sampson’s chauvinistic character draws again on sexual ambiguities to prove his masculinity when he states, “my naked weapon is out. Quarrel! I will be back thee.” By validating his masculinity through the violence of sword fighting, the pressure of becoming the “ideal man” caused sexual acts to link with aggression and violence. Shakespeare has cleverly encompassed male dominated techniques to create the message of the pressures of being the “real man” where women are considered weaker to men. So to be the “ideal man” do men need to be aggressive, violent and commit sexual acts to women?
Imagine what women feel in these forced positions. Forced to have sex with men otherwise threatened to die. Pushed, bashed, and bruised because men believe that they are higher in social class than women.
Is it men who are always responsible for? I am sure all of you would say yes! Every action taken by a man is an expression of comparing oneself to another and the driving to be more powerful and more dominant.
Verona is founded upon conquest, violence and sexual domination. The women of Verona are considered to be a completely different class to the men and they are thought to be weaker vessels and more as an object to possess. Women would never be called equals. Their opinions would never be understood or heard. During this time, 425 years ago, the male domination was all that could affect females. This has been shown when Juliet, a young and innocent girl was set up for marriage by her father in her teenage years, due to the power which all men held over women in this period of time. This meant that Juliet would have to marry Paris no matter how little she loved him. The direct power of all males has shaped the context of Romeo and Juliet dramatically, influencing many of Juliet’s decisions throughout the play. This shows that strong, independent women in today’s society should be able to have control over their own life and not be constantly controlled by powerful males.
Finally, toxic masculinity is a rising issue in today’s society leading to severe amounts of patriotism and violence towards women. More than 69% of men believe that society expects them to act strong, while 60% of men believe that they need to fight back when pushed, and another 56% of men believe that they must never say no to sex (in text reference). This is where society has gone wrong and where the role of being the “ideal man” must stop as it is leading to severe inaccurate statements. Men are guided to regard to manhood as a desired and reversed social status. This is because of the belief that a “real man” is dominant, in control, assertive and powerful. When young boys are brought up in the culture of becoming the “ideal man”, it has many detrimental effects on one’s life. It puts women at risk of violence and dominance over them. Masculinity is the basic agent that enhances the violence against women in today’s modern era. By putting these pressures on a young man’s life to be the “ideal man”, leads an individual to disastrous results that include physically hurting women, self-harming themselves, and developing aggression. Therefore, we need to be more aware of the effects that being the “ideal man” has on women and men in today’s society, before it gets worse.
Toxic masculinity has adverse and detrimental effects on women and men’s health. Women should be given the opportunity adhere to their opinions and to show that they are equal with men, not the opportunity to get threatened and bashed by the “ideal males”. Shakespeare, has illustrated the relevance of Romeo and Juliet in today’s society and has outlined the important key messages of how toxic masculinity can affect the patriarchal hierarchy. We as women need to understand what negative impacts masculine men has on us, so we can make a change today.
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