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Exploring the Meaning of Masculinity in Works of Devor and Chu

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Masculinity and its Faults

In “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender” Aaron H. Devor discusses gender roles that exist and how society molds these roles from a young age. He goes into depth about how these gender roles are affected by society and the results of this cause a black and white definition with no room for a gray area. In “Your Princess is in Another Castle” Arthur Chu argues that society has conditioned nerds to think that they deserve women. Because of this nerds channel their anger and disappointment in negative ways and that needs to change so his people will not be looked down upon. Although Chu and Devor discuss attributes that coincide with different genders, Chu’s argument is about how society views one specific group of a gender while Devor discusses society’s views on both genders.

Throughout his essay Devor touches on masculinity and attributes that follow that word stating “masculinity is usually characterized by dominance and aggression” (Devor 50). By taking what has been researched he is saying that the masculine presence is even in an academic stand point the more powerful of the two genders as masculinity is derived from being a male. Furthermore he pushes this idea by deriving from his research that femininity is defined by “passivity and submission” (Devor 50). This coincides with some of what Chu is trying to say in his article as “men are taught that women are things to earn” (Chu 18). Both of the authors realize that with being a male certain things are shown that create false ideas or beliefs like the fact that as males we are powerful and if femininity is to be submissive then earning a girl should make perfect sense.

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Although Chu and Devor have similar ideas on stereotypes pushed by society the audiences they are appealing to are very different and this is seen in the tone and use of word choice by both authors. With Chu he is speaking from a completely biased point of view and attempting to appeal to emotion from his audience. He does so by using personal pro nouns such as “we” and “I” to convey that he speaks for a group he believes he knows very well as he is one. He wants his audience which appears to be male nerds to head his warning and to change because he even asks “what the fuck is wrong with us” (Chu 30) conveying his worry for his fellow nerds and his culture as a whole. As for Devor on the other hand, he is trying to present a very unbiased and objective paper meant for an academic based audience who appeal most to facts and research and less to their emotions. He does this by using case studies and statistics to get his point across. Furthermore he stays in the third person the entire time as not to mix personal beliefs into his writing so that it can be taken as seriously as possible even from those who many not agree with the findings.

The difference between the two authors is even more evident in the arguments in their papers. Chu is trying his best to convince his fellow nerds that they need to change their ways. That they must wake up from their disillusionment and realize “peoples love and bodies cannot be taken, but must be given” (Chu 36) and with this idea nerds can change, but only if they give up on believing they deserve something for doing great things. Devor is completely different in his argument as not only is his audience different, but what he writes about is quite varied from nerd culture. Devor is making an attempt to present cold hard facts about the effects society takes on gender and the stigmas they carry because of those effects. He is saying that although there are male and females and masculinity and femininity these words do not have to pair off with their respective gender and can apply to the opposite, but because of society that does not happen very often.

Chu and Devor both look at gender and society, but with Chu he is speaking from a place of similarity to his audience in an attempt to stop his people from committing more acts of violence because their aggression supersedes ideals and beliefs that they at one time had. On top of this he points out film and television as a place that only hinders what he is trying to say and do and in turn believes that nerds, must stop committing crazy antics for love and to stop trying to earn it and allow it to be given. With Devor he wants people to realize that gender is not black and white and has many grey areas and that the characteristics of each gender do not have to apply to one or the other but both sides. He wants his audience to see that through multiple studies society has unfairly molded people’s minds from a young age to think this way and that it is not directly their fault because of it.

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