Last week we talked a little bit about men and feminism and why it is beneficial for men. We’re going to touch on a bit more of that. I want to start this week off with a video that I watched in my first year sociology class at university when we started talking about gender. While this video is dated, and a lot of things have changed, I still think it is a relevant to what I’d like to talk about today. Here is that video:
This is just a short clip out of the entire documentary. I couldn’t find a good clip that shows how the male body has been changing over time to become more muscular and intimidating in movies, literature, and toys over the years (from this same documentary). Besides that’s more for the post for next week.
One of the main take away from that documentary that I took from is that men have their own stereotypes that they have to battle. At the time, I never really thought that men would be affected by stereotypes as much as women are. Once this thought got placed into my head it started to pop up in a lot of everyday situations. Those cliques and groups in high school were still seeping into my university life. You still had your jocks, your geeks, your stoners, etc., but they were starting to look a lot more “manly”. There was more aggressiveness – in part you are competing for good grades – and there was a lot of trying on different personalities to see who you were. As a woman, I noticed when I got hit on when attending parties that I’d have to say no a couple times before the guy went away or he’d get more persistent. I also noticed in my guy friends that there was a lot more one-up-manship happening where so and so had to be bigger, smarter and better than anyone else. i also found that a lot of my male friends were adamantly against expressing emotion or would not be comfortable if I expressed emotion.
Thankfully a lot of that changed as we went through university. A lot of my male friends started to date in the long term and this calmed down a lot of the aggressiveness. One of my friends in particular took a lot of women and gender studies courses and he’s happy to show and deal with emotion and understands that it’s not a weakness. All of this is great and I’m happy to see it, but they still revert back to old tendencies when they are with their male friends though not to the degree that it was when they were just starting university.
So what does this all mean for literature? Well these are a lot of the archetypes or stereotypes I have found in my readings over the years:
- The Hero
- This guy is always coming in to save the damsal in distress – sometimes with a good attitude and sometimes with a bad one. He takes charge. Mansplaining is a thing he may do. He knows best. He gets the job done.
- The Sweetly Sensitive Guy
- This man is thoughtful. He remembers birthdays, anniversaries, anything that’s important. He knows exactly how to cheer someone up after they’ve had a bad day. He’s always there for the ones he loves. He’s the perfect guy – until you piss him off.
- The Laid back Guy
- He’a chill. Not a lot bothers him. He’s only looking to have a good time and to avoid as much drama as he can. He usually is into some sort of recreational drug or into things like arcade and video games.
- The Villain
- He’s the guy that everyone hates and does despicable things. He either purposefully goes out of his way to be mean and disadvantage others or he’s oblivious to his bad qualities.
- The Reluctant Man
- He doesn’t want to be the hero and generally just wants to be left alone. He has to be convince to help save the girl or the world. He doesn’t really like change.
- The Arty-Hipster
- This is the man who reads poetry in cafes, is moody, broke and trying to make it in whatever artsy community he is trying to make his break in. Smoking and being broke are prerequisites. Man buns and beards are encouraged.
- The Playboy/Party Boy
- His idea of a good night out is to get drunk at a club and to try to hook up with as many women/men as he can. One night stands are the norm. Loves variety. They’re smooth and charming. They have good jobs that allow them to live extravagantly and to keep their partying going. He will break your heart as commitment isn’t high on his list of priorities.
- The Bad Boy
- He’s a favourite of mine. He’s the guy that bucks the rules of society to the point that he breaks them or the lines between what’s legal and illegal are blurred. He’s the one mother’s warn their daughters not to fall for. If he owns a motorcycle he gets some bonus points.
- The Roughneck/Country Boy
- The roughneck is a little backwards in his thinking. he can be mean or naively innocent in his thinking and mannerisms. Most of the time the roughneck is the hick. The country boy is the step up from the roughneck. He’s a smooth talker. Loves the outdoors and animals. He can be a bit of a player or a sweet guy.
- The Best Friend
- He’s been there the entire time! The love interest just didn’t realise it until it was too late or just in the nick of time.
- The Prince
- He’s literally a prince. Or he’s just that guy you were waiting for – the one with looks, smarts, humor, kindness and money.
There are a lot more stereotypes in literature, but these are the ones I come across the most often. If you think I missed any let me know! Also I’d like to point out that there can be a lot of mixing and matching between the different types of men you find in literature. My suggestion like always is to break these norms and come up with something new. Have it so the characters that should be together (like in the Best Friend scenario) don’t end up together and go their separate ways. Come up with a new character archetype. Have it so your men aren’t overly aggressive and are more like Gandhi. Have men that are OK with openly expressing emotion in front of women and other men.
Until next week.