Men felt themselves watched and evaluated by other men. That’s why they feel that they have to demonstrate their manhood, just for other men’s approval. They are just looking for other men’sapproval. They need that for being able to call themselves “men”. And in their attempt to prove and improve their manliness, they use women. Masculinity is a homosocial enactment – a competition, a show – allbuilt up in gendered action and language and exaggerated to hide signs of so called weakness that are defined as feminine in opposition. So masculinity is a homosocial enactment, in which men canfail because every man has a rating of himself and every man is in competition with other men.
As masculinity is a homosocial enactment, the main emotion is fear. According to Freud, the boy gave upthe desire for his mother because of the fear of his father’s power. This makes a relation between gender identity and sexual orientation: the boy by identifying with his father, which means becomingmasculine, he also becomes heterosexual. And he believes he will overcome this fear if he identifies with his oppressor, his father. So this is the way men become masculine.
But if the boy identifieswith his mother, he will see his father as his mother does, with desire, but at the same time, he will see his father as the boy wants to see him, as a person to emulate. Homophobia starts when he, theboy, tries to supress the desire for other men. And what are men supposed to do? They must fight that feeling, suppress it and hide it.
Even if we don’t refer to Freudian model, the father isalways the first man who evaluates the boy as masculine. During childhood, boys see how other men around them behave. They absorb these primary lessons about social male roles from observing their fathersand other male family members, teachers, media heroes... Today's boys grow up watching programmes that show them a completely different set of male behaviour from those that exist around them.
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