The Masculinity Effect

With AMW now a mere few months away from its release, I’ve really taken to looking through the book and examining for the influences from my own life and interests that have seeped through to my written words.  There’s plenty to point out: from the fact that the book is primarily set in modern times, to the way the characters behave; from the locations the chapters are set at, to plot line motives.

Through it all though, I have to say that one of the more interesting influences- to me as the writer- is the influence of masculinity that I incorporate at times throughout the book.  There’s something about the subject matter that I always find to be quite fascinating.

It’s a concept that I’ve had more of a subconscious interest in.  I don’t think it’s something that I really ever talk about.  Men and boys- both in fiction and in real life- have very specific social structures and expectations attached to them from the moment they’re born; to be strong, to be tough, to be a leader, to be a successful human.  Any sign that showed weakness would be used as a weapon against them and any interest or participation in an activity that isn’t considered “masculine enough” may lead to taboo looks aimed in their direction.

It’s funny when I look at society now, that those unwritten rules for males are still heavily applied; so much as to where females such as myself have an easier time, getting away with being the not-so social norm.

I’ve always wondered about stories that are heavily focused on male characters and the concept of masculinity.  I’ve always wondered about the mentality the storyteller had to obtain in order to create them; in particular in movies, books and TV shows I like such as the Harry Potter books, Haruki Murakami‘s novels, some of Witi Ihimaera‘s novels, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Doctor Who,” “Glee,” the Star Wars series, “The Karate Kid” and more.  They all have male characters, dealing with very masculine-driven storylines in some way or another.

As much as I like thinking and writing about the concept of what it means to be masculine as a male, I also just as much like thinking and writing about what it means to be masculine as a female.  Speaking as a female, I believe that by embracing character traits of both sides of what we define as gender, to me, that just makes for my own and possibly stronger concept of femininity.  I always admire the idea of the mix of toughness in female roles and/or when female characters are placed in positions that are traditionally for males.

When looking back on the concept of masculinity for both males and females, in a way, I can understand why I’ve always had a bit of a fascination for it.  Since the age of five (yes really), I’ve been very aware of society’s biased definition of what it mean to be male and female- which is exactly why I always made the point of not be afraid to show my tough side and to never become “too girly.”  I never wanted to be seen as just another girl; I wanted to be seen as a certain type of girl.

I think it also makes sense looking back on my life so far on why I am the way I am, as far as never being afraid to be a tough girl goes.  Generally speaking, I guess I’ve always been heavily influenced by males.  I grew up with only brothers.  Most of my character traits hail from the men in my family.  Most of my best friends are guys.  Most of my favorite authors are men.  A good chunk of my favorite artists are men.  I grew up being overly fascinated by Jackie Chan.  I’ve spent the past ten years doing martial arts- an activity I once got questioned about due to it being very male-centric– and thoroughly enjoy it.  My celebrity crush is on a really genuine male actor.

Do you see a pattern here?

So for that matter, if you see examples of masculinity in both defined forms throughout my book, now you know why.

Admit it!  It only seems appropriate to include this!


3 thoughts on “The Masculinity Effect

  1. It felt so weird for me seeing the title of this post because I have almost exclusively negative associations with males and maleness. It’s honestly really hard for me to think positively of males. I’ve seen so much abhorrent and abusive talk and behavior from males. My female friends, acquaintances, and strangers I’ve met can be mean, but never truly deplorable, disgusting, or physically manipulative.

    Most of the characters and people I look up to for their strength — Tris, Sif, Black Widow, Alex Dunphy, Santana, Katy Perry — are female and I never think of as masculine at all. This was a fascinating post!

    • I think that’s something that’s come out of society in an understandable yet unfortunate matter; that to be masculine and male is a bad thing. Because of circumstances that have existed in the past and in the present day, I can understand why you think that.
      There’s this added pressure for guys to be and think a certain way, and while I find it conceptually fascinating in storytelling, I don’t think that its entirely psychologically healthy for guys. That’s why I’m glad a documentary such as this is coming out this year:
      I would love to hear more thoughts about this subject matter from your perspective. Maybe you can write something about it on your blog. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Special Sunday Post: Recurring Themes to Know Before Reading AMW | Lola By The Bay

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