Essay on Struggling with Subjectivity

1450 Words 6 Pages
Struggling With Subjectivity: A Comparative Critique of Susan Faludi’s
“The Betrayal of the American Man, At Ground Zero of the Masculine Crisis,
The Ornamental Culture, Beyond the Politics of Confrontation” and
George L. Mosse’s “Toward A New Masculinity?“
If identification and study of any current “generally accepted” societal belief, image, or stereotype is considered a difficult undertaking, to identify and place that which is “generally accepted” into historical context is a Herculean task. As one looks back into history, even the history of his/her own lifetime, there is always the matter of “individual perspective.” Whether knowingly or unknowingly, how and why one views an issue in a particular way is partially determined by a
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This “paradigm shift” from “providing” to “dominating” and “controlling” is one of Faludi’s primary conclusions. She also concludes:
     Where we once lived in a society in which men participated by being useful in
     public life, we now are surrounded by a culture that encourages people to play
     almost no functional roles, only decorative ones. . . masculinity is something
     to drape over the body, not [drawn] from inner resources. . . personal, not      societal. . . displayed, not demonstrated. (93)

Faludi thus declares what she believes was the past definition of masculinity-- providing, useful, functional, based on the essence of man, relating to societal norms of conduct and demonstrated in purposeful action. In contrast, she declares what she believes is today’s definition of masculinity-- dominating, controlling, decorative, based on man’s appearance, relating to individually defined norms of conduct and displayed as an ornament.
Pfaff 3
Mosse comes to a totally different conclusion. He concludes the societal definition of masculinity has experienced almost no change at all. While he admits to various challenges to what he believes is the societal definition, he declares, “the old masculine stereotype that long ago had saturated society still [seems] to hold” (120). Additionally he states masculine “tradition

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