Frome Men to Women

I believe a man should be a man, and I believe a woman should be a woman. Within society there are these stereotypes and double standards on men and woman. Specifically men.
In my advance Literature class we’re reading Ethan Frome and as we were having a great discussion about the book, the same critique came upon the main character Ethan. That he was to feminine, and lacked “manliness” because he was weak, and played both the husband and wife in the relationship. Now I agree that men should be the head of the house, should be the provider, and should be the foundation for the house. But from the group conversation I got this unison assumption that Ethan was weak, thus he was the female of the relationship. I found this odd, the conclusion was that since Ethan is weak he is considered the woman? This coming from people who would in a blink of an eye defend the strength of woman. They were creating a double standard for men, and subsequently downgrading woman.
This contradicting outlook really got me thinking about what it is to be a man. Society definitely has this idea that men should be strong, tough, etc, but there are also other assumptions. I’ll place them in list form

Men should be; strong, tough, rigid, not share emotions as openly, willing to fight for what they believe in, willing to back down anyone who comes at them wrong, protecting, not interested in feminine related topics, inclined to sports, less talkative then woman, not caring about the aesthetics of things, like the outdoors, the dominate one in the relationship, not weak or passive aggressive, woman crazed, etc.

The list could go on and on, and I agree with some of the “characteristics of a male,” but I feel like the stereotypes are very, limiting. A stereotype becomes a problem when someone says you are not something because you do not fit the standards. This is what I mean by limiting. Making others feel wrong or out of place because they don’t meet the general stereotypes of men. I feel as though this is not something talked about often. It’s that half-lit light bulb in the room that everyone recognizes, but no one bothers to adjust or fix, because it’s assumed that it’s shining at full power. It’s not until someone comes along and tweaks the bulb that it shines twice at bright, and people begin to recognize that there was a problem with the light bulb in the first place. If the standards for men are okay, why do so many men leave their kids, why are so many men in jail, and why do so many men get in physical altercations, some leading to death, and why do so many men cheat? I believe this is what I’m going to write my slam poem about. I don’t want to come off as a victim, as I sort of did in my group piece “open insecurities.” I want to be almost as an outsider looking in, or a person who is simply questioning the norm.

Besides all the standards society places on us, I believe this is the one thing every person regardless man or female should do:

“And you must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”- Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)

Would stero types be such an issue if we were to all love each other. Would things so trivial as, gender, race, stereotypes, and ideas, matter if we were all interconnected and not so divided?

~Frazier

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