Man-box is the collective socialization of men. In other words, it is the socially constructed expectations as to how masculinity should showcase its characteristic. Besides this, it provides a benchmark against which it is gauged that how much a male is masculine. It contains traits that define what it means to be a man. In short, it puts strict limitation on how a man is supposed to be with regard to traits which society recognize as masculine.
Men are placed in this box because of the following socially constructed version of masculine traits. For example, men are not supposed to show weakness and fear, shed tears in public, and behave like women and gay. And, they are supposed to be hetero-sexual; leaders who do not need help- tough and courageous (Porter). Moreover, one of the ways men are placed in the Man-box is because of sexual objectification of women. It is through all the masculine attributes explained above that men are placed in this box.
Dysfunctions of putting males into this box are numerous. Firstly, it is because of these traits contained in Man-box that women are increasingly falling prey to violence- especially in domestic settings. Secondly, it leads males to repose their belief in false social ideas that women are less-valued creatures, and property. Resultantly, women are made sexual objects of males. While narrating very vividly a story of rape from his childhood, Tony Porter points to the fact that how man-box brings about dysfunction in society. Despite the fact that some men know that their actions or behavior would hurt women, they still cling to such masculine traits because of the fear to get out this trap-box- known as man-box. Not only the man-box restricts men’s behavior, but also it decreases social respect of the males who try to break free of the rules laid down by the man-box (Greene). Moreover, as men are not supposed to ventilate their feelings openly, this socially constructed attribute contained within the man-box can make men vulnerable to psychological disorders which in turn would create dysfunction in society.
Women are playing key role in promoting the rigid idea of a ‘real man’. In the society, it is common observation that very often women depend on men in terms of social security, wealth and power. Besides this, some women also like it when controlled by men and treated as an object of sex. And, most of the women prefer to marry a male belonging to rich background for social and economic considerations in return for accepting these traits and terms of masculinity.
Men’s liberation from the man-box is closely tied to women liberation in many ways. Firstly, if men get out this trap, they would stop harming women. As a result, violence against women would scale down. Women are in shackles socially and economically because of these masculine traits. When men themselves would attain liberation from this mindset, then as a consequence women would be free (Porter). Men’s liberation from the cuffs of the man-box can ensure equality to women. And, women would stop being an object and lesser creatures of God.
I would teach my children to express themselves irrespective of social considerations and bounds. Lessons regarding gender parity, non-violence, equality of choices, freedom of speech, tolerance, pluralism, accepting disagreement with equanimity and equal rights (social, economic and political) can socialize children in a way that males or females develop qualities which do not fit these right stereotypes.
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