Cyborg Bodies, Porn Masculinity and Media
-- by Krystal Fleischman
Introduction: Contemporary Problems of Hegemonic Masculinity and Media:
My topic in relation to masculinity will be a detailed analysis of how the normalization of hegemonic masculinity in pornography affects the self-esteem and sexual behaviors of college age men. My research will demonstrate how pornography has become mainstream in the everyday media and advertising people are immersed in on a daily basis. Similarly, to studies about young women’s self-esteem and sexual practice, pornography and mainstream media affect the body image (Filiault,2007). Further analysis also demonstrates that pornography and media influence misogynist attitudes of young men. The hegemonic masculine standards can leave males feeling powerless, and they can only achieve power and sexual prowess through homosocial activities such as girl hunting (Grazian, 2007). These constructions of homosocial activities to assert masculine identity and power stem from pornographic film narratives that view women as sexual prey and can mirror gang bang scenarios, where males in groups make sexual conquest. If sexual conquest actually occurs males demonstrate porn narratives in the bed room and may assume that young women enjoy rough sex or anal sex.
My content analysis research will also connect how contemporary pornography has created homogenized standards of what masculine looks like. The phenotype of masculinity in pornography shows males who may have abnormally large penises, super human sexual stamina and high muscle mass. The usage of sexual cyborg performers may be linked poor body image in young men, along with the ever present hegemonic masculine archetypes of the Terminator and Rambo characters in action films. What I plan to assess and show through my research is that pornographic narratives, masculinity in the media, male sexual behavior and poor body image are all inextricably linked. By understanding these connections I hope to discover possible means to eradicate these masculine standards, and violent, oppressive sexual behaviors directed at young women.
The method used in this research paper will be in depth content analysis of gonzo genre pornography and mainstream media. I have analyzed fifteen gonzo pornography narratives to make a connection between porn narratives and mainstream media and show the similarities of how they portray male cyborg body image. I will focus on elements such as body type, penis size, emphasis on rough sex, and stamina. I will also make the connection of gonzo porn to mainstream media to show how the media uses hegemonic masculinity, cyborg bodies and mistreatment of women as common marketing ploy and cultural standards. The mainstream media I will analyze will be from various media sources such as cinema, magazine ads and commercials ranging from pharmaceuticals like Viagra, to products like Old Spice deodorant. It is important that I analyze not only the common porn consumed by men, but also the mainstream media portrayal of masculinity, male bodies and sexual behavior to demonstrate the macro scale effect it has on men in daily life. The content analysis is also pertinent to the discussion of male homosocial behavior such a girl hunting which is often portrayed in reality television shows and commercials; these pack behaviors are often constructed as sexual conquests. This content analysis will be a means of conceptualizing secondary research materials used, and will aid me in making distinct connections between the institution of porn, media and body images issues, and misogynist attitudes and sexuality amongst men.
Pornographic Narratives Content Analysis:
To answer the question if pornographic narratives are present in mainstream media and culture, one must first critically analyze standard gonzo porn material. Pornography has not only become normalized, but the acceptance of it in contemporary culture has become mainstream; and that much of the videos viewed in studies has themes of violence and degradation (Monk-Turner, and Purcell,1999). One of the gonzo porn pieces that I found that demonstrates that porn narratives have infiltrated mainstream media and culture are videos from Gonzo.vidz.com. These short porn films are all given different titles to imply variety, but generally all of these films are the same and show normative narratives. All of these narratives include heterosexual sex, ass to mouth, very rough anal and vaginal sex, and name calling. Two or more men per woman is also a common theme. As for the male bodies shown they are standard cyborg bodies, which are comprised of abnormally large penises, large biceps, six-pack abs, and demonstration of robotic sexual stamina.
Another common, free gonzo porn site I viewed was Youporn.com. Though there was also some homosexual and lesbian porn here, it was also very cruel; almost all of the men in both heterosexual and homosexual porn had abnormally large penises and high muscle mass. One of the Youporn.com films I watched was comprised of one male actor and one female actress. This specific piece did not include any description of BDSM or any indicators that it was violent. Therefore, viewers would assume this film is not violent and is standard sexual activity being filmed. The male in this film had an abnormal amount of muscle mass, inhuman sexual stamina and an abnormally large penis. The woman in this film was heavily degraded by her male partner; she was gagged so violently and frequently throughout the film that her eyes were welling up with tears and she almost vomited a few times. The male actor would violently slap the woman in the face whenever she gagged. Not once did the male actor touch the woman’s body in a way to please her. The male actor proceeded to having very rough anal sex with her, for a long duration; during this segment the woman made pain filled vocalizations and had grimaces of pain on her face. The end scene ended with the standard ass to mouth, ejaculation shot.
Internet pornography, including the pieces I have viewed an analyzed all demonstrate the same factors. Women are always seen as objects of sexual conquest or hunts, but are detached of all emotional value which can be seen in ‘money shots’ and blatant violence (Cook, 2006). As I stated in my description of some of the porn I viewed, the woman was not told anything flattering, was physically abused and subsequently humiliated at the end of the scene with a facial money shot. Other films I had viewed women were called sluts or whores directly or referred to as such in the video descriptions. These gonzo films are sometimes free, and available to an everyday male, and are conceptualized as normal. These narratives of sex demonstrate a clear, sexualized hatred of women (Jensen, 2007).
Cyborg Bodies, Penis Size, and Stamina in Pornography:
An equally important issue with pornography is how it causes anxiety and insecurity for heterosexual males in Western societies (Cook, 2006). All too often in pornography there is an emphasis on absurdly large penises. Often, gonzo sites I found had descriptors about how large the phalluses of the male actors were and that the female actress was ‘so horny for a big cock’. This narrative explicitly infers that women can only be pleased by large phalluses and that other vaginal stimulation is seen as less effective means in pleasuring a woman (Cook, 2006). This notion that a large phallus is key to being masculine and pleasing a woman is one factor that is detrimental the male self-esteem. Another common element of the male cyborg porn body is high sexual stamina and ejaculation. Along with penis size, hardness and endurance are also factors in porn to demonstrate that one is man enough to please a woman with his huge phallus (Cook, 2006). In the porn that I analyzed, not only were the penises above average size, they were marked as such in video clip titles like, “Hottie Takes Huge Cock”. The blatant titles and choice of porn actors with abnormal phalluses set the unattainable standard that the average man is bombarded with in the porn he watches.
The act of ejaculation serves a dual function in pornography and hegemonic male programming. First of all, as discussed before it serves as the main action that humiliates the female in money shots (Cook, 2006)., Secondly, within the U.S. cultural discourse and porn narratives ejaculation must occur as a result of all sex acts (Johnson, 2010). Conforming to this socially constructed ejaculation standard shows sexual success and validates masculinity (Johnson, 2010). In every single porn film I analyzed, the climax of these films always ended with a male ejaculating usually on or sometimes in a female body. If, these male bodies could not maintain a long term erection and finish with ejaculation, the penis (and the man) would lose the power that is represented by the phallus (Johnson,2010). “Erections are a lot more temperamental than people are willing to admit. But we have this image of masculinity and expectations of male sexuality as being virile and always ready to go and being the conqueror” (Loe, 2001,284). Pornographic cyborg standards are postmodern conceptualizations of male bodies and their functions, which clearly neglect the fact that erections and ejaculations can be fickle, because natural male bodies cannot function robotically like pornographic cyborg bodies can. Another apparent trait of all of the porn actors except for one that I saw, is that all of the men have high muscle mass. The men in these porn films have huge biceps, six-pack abdominal structures, and are often times hairless. The average man is affected by these body standards, because they are intangible but constantly apparent in pornography.
Pornographic Male Phenotype Infiltrates Mainstream Media:
The hegemonic sexual behaviors and male body image have become normative not only in pornography but beyond. When viewing everyday media such as men’s magazines, cinematic features, and commercials the same male bodies and behavior can be seen over and over again. The male body more so than ever has become sexualized, commodified and visible since the 1990s (Ricciardelli, Clow, and White, 2010).
Muscularity and fitness have become focal points of male media representations of men in the West; these representations become ingrained and send men a message that their bodies must look a certain way and the body must be lived in a hegemonically masculine way (Ricciardelli, Clow, and White, 2010). “Lifestyle magazines emerged for men in order to ease their growing anxieties and uncertainties about masculinity, as well as provide some direction about what is manly in later modernity” (Ricciardelli, Clow, and White, 2010,66). This quote states the intention of men’s reading material such as Men’s Health Magazine and Men’s Fitness are to secure hegemonic masculinity, but in reality and through content analysis is clear that these materials can produce insecurity.
While viewing covers and content of Men’s Health Magazine, the same domineering, tough, hard physique was seen every cover. I specifically viewed six covers; each comprised of a man with huge biceps, six pack abs, and either wearing a transparent shirt or no shirt at all. Not only did the magazine bombard men with idealized, unattainable cyborg bodies it also contained materials that referenced the cyborg sexuality of pornography. Specifically on the website menshealth.comthere is an article called 10 Ways to Last Longer in Bed. Not only does this article impose the porn narrative idea on men that have to last a long time during sex in order to a man or be an adequate partner, one of the methods of lasting longer suggested pharmaceutical intervention. “A recent study showed that 73 percent of men who suffered from premature ejaculation either were cured or improved after taking 20 milligrams of Prozac a day for a week and 40 mg thereafter” (Men’s Health Editors, 2010). This article directly says to men that they must last long like porn stars and if they cannot they should consult physicians aboutProzac in order to achieve porn narrative sex. One must look critically at this material and analyze what premature ejaculation means in culture that constructs sexuality around porn narratives. These types of articles along with cyborg bodies across covers and advertisements in magazines tell men that they must live up to hegemonic male standards in the most private of spheres such as their sex lives.
When analyzing covers of Men’s Fitness magazine the same male body type seen on Men’s Health covers appears here as well. When viewing six covers of Men’s Fitness they all were comprised of generally unattainable rock hard bodies, with beyond average size biceps, and six pack ab stomach structures. Most men were shirtless on these covers of had very transparent, tight sleeveless shirts on. All of the men on these covers in particular were in stances flexing and displaying biceps, lifting weights, or doing pushups. The article headlines presented on the cover were even more blatant, saying things such as “Get upper body POWER” and “Build Your Perfect Body”. There is a clear emphasis on male fitness being about power and being muscular in an idealized way. The use of the word power in all capitals implies that being strong grants men power not only physically, but also socially if you meet the hegemonic standard. Therefore, men who do not meet these standards are powerless according to this hegemonic masculinity narrative. This hegemonic masculinity narrative that is seen in men’s fitness magazines is seen in gonzo porn narratives. The porn films analyzed each showed aggression and power through tough male physiques, large penises, stamina and outward abuse such as hitting and name calling. Men’s fitness and health magazines display the same cyborg body in porn and also have written content based on unrealistic porn narratives and assumptions about male sexuality and bodies.
Television Commercials and the Male Body and Sexuality:
Commercials function as another media outlet that is saturated with porn narratives and hegemonic masculinity. Everything from beer, to erectile dysfunction pharmaceuticals borrow heavily from pornographic standards about men’s bodies and sexual function. I analyzed three of the ever so present erectile dysfunction product commercials and found different approaches, but they all entailed use of pornographic narratives about male bodies and sexuality. The first commercial I viewed was an alternative drug to Viagra called Vigorin. In this commercial a man awakes from sleeping and walks over to hit partially opened window. To open the window further he pushes it up with his penis. The window then starts to fall, and the ad flashes across the screen saying, “You’d Better Use Vigorin”. Generally the commercial would just seem silly, but when analyzing what the product being advertised is, and having an understanding of porn narratives my view of this commercial broadens. The porn narrative being displayed in this commercial is that a man’s penis must be strong enough to open windows and act as a functional appendage because it is so strong. The product placement line pushes men to use the product so they can achieve these super human actions. Porn as discussed before creates cyborg standard for male bodies, that must function at an unattainable level. The descriptions of individual porn videos describe how big, mean or strong a man’s cock is that a woman is going to be ‘fucked’ with.
Another commercial I analyzed is a Viagra commercial where a business man in a suit enters a crowded elevator and sees a coworker. The co work asks “You look tired, are things fine?”, the man in the suit replies “No, I was up late bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep”. The co-worker simply replies saying “Cool”; the ad then says, “Talk to your Doctor”. What I gather from this ad is that a man must be so virile, that he must first of all seek a pharmaceutical to achieve this. The man must also stay up all night and do a variety of implied adventurous sex acts. Also the man who uses Viagra never states anything about who he slept with; there is no mention of a wife or girlfriend. This ad explicitly states that men must achieve an abnormal amount of sexual stamina, even if it means they must use drugs. The man also can be a bachelor, or promiscuous since there is no implication that he has a monogamous partner. Much like porn narratives the man states through a segment of bleeps that he has sexual stamina like a stud, does a variety of sexual acts on one night and can have as many women as he likes since he is a stud. The hegemonic masculine pornographic narrative is also apparent here by the use of bleeps and not real language because it implies that like porn, the sex the Viagra user has is explicit and outside of the norm.
The final erectile dysfunction product ad I analyzed is a commercial for the pharmaceutical Cialis. The ad starts with a man and woman riding on a two seater bicycle through a quaint town near the water. The couple are laughing and carrying on, and there is elating flute music and whistling accompanying the scene. The man and woman both get off of the bicycle and; as they are walking away the man places his hand on the woman’s behind. The ad in black, bold, capital letters says “ Cialis. For Powerful Erections”. Though this commercial seems tame and less rooted in pornographic narratives than the other two I analyzed, the commercial still uses pornographic language in conjunction with penis function. The use of the term powerful erections in all capital letters states that a man’s erections must have power and can just simply exist withCialis use. The commercial would have sufficed and clearly made its point without the use of language, like powerful. The use of this term once again demonstrates terminology and attitudes towards men’s penises in porn. The commercials may not explicitly state that a man’s penis must be large, but it certainly implies that men must be virile, have a robotic, always ready penis, that asserts power through it hardness and it’s supposed power over women’s bodies. These implied sentiments about male sexual function and penises can also be seen in commercials for other products as well.
A commercial for Guinness beer I analyzed for instance also demonstrates pornographic narratives that have infiltrated the mainstream media. The commercial starts off with a bottle of Guinness wobbling back and forth; as the camera pans out the viewer can see a naked woman’s body and that the bottle is sitting on the small of her back. One hand emerges from the back of her body to grab the bottle and then another hand reaches from the front her body to grab it as well. The ad says “ Share one with a friend”; then another hand emerges from under the woman’s body and grabs it as well. The caption in the ad then says “Share one with a friend or two”. As this is going on there is cross between a bad Bee Gees cover and 70s bass and flute porn music playing in the background. This ad clearly shows how media has hijacked hegemonic pornographic narratives, by showing a woman’s body as only a sex object (body) with no face. There is also no implication that she could be enjoying the sex shown. This commercial also shows three men having sex with one woman showing the porn narrative of gang bangs, which are a homosocial demonstration of sexuality. The narrative shown on the commercial shows the possible result of a night of girl-hunting (Grazian, 2007). The sexual night life that involves rituals such as alcohol consumption within groups of college aged men acts as a stage for men to perform their masculinity for the women they are trying to hook up with and male friends (Grazian, 2007).This commercial and its treatment of women’s bodies, homosocial sexual scoring, and lack of implied female sexual pleasure all are major factors I saw when I analyzed standard gonzo pornography.
A group of commercials I analyzed that portray the standard or desired male body as an overtly buff cyborg body are deodorant commercials. The first one I analyzed for cyborg body content is a commercial for Old Spice. In this commercial a very muscular and attractive black male wearing a towel asks women to look at their men and then look at him. He insists that he smells like the man woman want their man to be. The man then appears shirtless on a boat, and displays things that standard norms deem as romantic such as diamonds and riding horses on the beach. The commercial ends with the ad text saying “Smell like a man, man”. This commercial may state that men should smell manly, but the usage of a cyborg body also says to male consumers that they must have a certain physique to look like the man that women desire. The man that women desire according to gendered cultural programming is supposed to be a buff and tough male body that is borrowed directly from pornography. Another Old Spice commercial I viewed features an even more muscular man who yells through entire commercial about how the product can stop odor for sixteen hours. The man in this commercial is the epitome of a cyborg body; he also demonstrates unnecessary aggression by punching another man in the commercial in the face. The man that is punched is a much smaller man, with glasses whose body does not fit into the cyborg body norm that is displayed as masculine on television. The larger cyborg bodied man also screams “ Pa pa pa pa pa POWER” after he punches the smaller man in the face and the advertising text then proceeds to explode. The commercial may allude that the power is in the deodorant, but when analyzing context it is clear that power is associated with the construction manliness and having a huge unattainable physique.
Porn Standard Muscularity and Masculinity in Mainstream Films:
Mainstream Action movies have been yet another place where hegemonic masculinity, and pornographic cyborg bodies and male aggression can seen in a vast amount of films. “Results demonstrate that actors in the genre have shown a parallel trend towards increasing leanness and muscularity over the last several decades. As well, in comparison to their less muscular counterparts, those with muscular physiques were more likely to be romantically involved, evidenced higher levels of aggression, experienced more positive outcomes, and were more likely to be objectified “(Morrison and Halton, 2009,57).I analyzed a number of trailers from films I have seen before that use the cyborg muscular body as both the protagonist or antagonist. For instance, the 1984 film The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is about a literal cyborg that is after the one woman who can save mankind from the destructive transhumanist dystopia it has become. In the trailer, the Terminator can be seen brutally shooting women he misconstrues as the woman he is supposed to assassinate. The trailer describes him as being “inhumane, relentless, unstoppable”; this film portrays this cyborg man as the antagonist against mankind but none the less, the Terminator character himself has become an icon of hegemonic masculinity. Though this character is not sexualized for his huge build, he does demonstrate a lack of emotion and is aggressive towards female human beings. Therefore, the Terminator does possess characteristics demonstrated by men in gonzo pornography.
Another Schwarzenegger film and trailer I analyzed is the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian. In this film Schwarzenegger plays a protagonist who is out to destroy an evil leader who helped destroy his village years ago. In this film, the character Conan displays almost super human strength, displays the porn cyborg muscular build, is a warrior and a hero. A study on muscularity in action films states that buff physiques are generally objectified by showing male actors shirtless, naked or wearing loin clothes and torn clothing (Morrison and Halton, 2009). In the film the protagonist is shown with his chest, arms, legs and abdomen exposed through the majority of the film. Conan also develops a romantic relationship and has sex with the female love interest. This character displays not only the idealized body type, but also the successful sexual conquest of winning over a woman because he is a strong, ultra masculine warrior. What makes this character even more interesting is that Schwarzenegger is a protagonist in this film and is constructed as a heroic icon of hyper masculinity.
Another masculine film icon is Sylvester Stallone’s famous character John Rambo. John Rambo has been gunning down vast numbers of people and flexing his biceps since 1982. In all four films, First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rambo (2008), this military hero has demonstrated gross amounts of violence, nationalism, and revenge. What also can be said about this character is that in every single film his body seems to get bigger and bigger and look more inhuman in each film. As John Rambo’s physique grew, his clothing became smaller and he often was shirtless or had tattered clothing on, displaying his unattainable body.
A more contemporary set of films that display cyborg bodies and aggression are the Batman films. The Batman filmography from 1989 to 2008 all display Batman as a super buff, super human vigilante. Though this masculine superhero remains covered in most of the films in his disguise, his suit is fitted in such a way that the viewer can clearly see every abdominal muscle, peck outline and bicep outline through his clingy suit. Batman displays forms of aggression towards all of his enemies in order to save Gotham City in each film. Batman is an important iconic masculine character, that men who are in college now have known since childhood, and as each film has come out Batman has remained hyper muscular and demonstrates his cyborg body and abilities as a man and a hero.
Media Consumption and its Effects on Male Body Image and Self Esteem:
Mass media affects people’s everyday lives in Western societies; media also works as an outlet of showing cultural definitions and ideals of men and women (Morrison and Halton, 2009). Today, men are increasingly concerned with their bodies as part of their self-esteem and a large portion of men are unhappy with their body size, and shape (Conseur, Hathcote and Kim, 2007). From 1984 onward more male bodies being sexually objectified in ads in magazines like GQ which have set precedence for ideal bodies which men judge themselves accordingly (Conseur, Hathcote and Kim, 2007). Men’s concern about appearance and self-esteem is also determined by the standards set in magazines like Playgirl; men can only assume that having high levels of muscularity is pertinent to finding a mate if this is the body type shown in magazine geared towards women’s supposed sexual interest
(Filiault,2007). Men who perceive themselves as inadequate in terms of muscularity will find their masculinity being challenged and will feel they are not able to be good sexual partners (Filiault, 2007). With the understanding of the media displays and effects of pornographic cyborg male body images on young men one must critically look at men’s relationships. Men’s sexual behavior must also be examined because much of men’s learnings about sex and their bodies are influenced by inorganic sources like gonzo pornography narratives and mainstream media.
Men’s Relationships, Sexual Behavior and Misogyny:
With research findings by scholars concluding that men’s self-esteem and sexuality are effected by media and pornographic body standards, it seems that males also borrow sexual behaviors and behaviors in relationships from porn narratives and media (Filiault,2007; Conseur, Hathcote and Kim, 2007;Morrison and Halton,2009). Some studies have shown that both explicitly violent and non-violent pornography showed a significant correlation to accepting misogynist attitudes and violence against women (Hald, Malamuth and Yuen, 2010). Much of the violent pornography (violence and degradation are normative in gonzo)shows positive victim outcomes, where rape narratives and other assaults are portrayed as erotic and pleasurable for the woman depicted as being abused (Donnerstein and Lintz,1986). In past research it was believed that only actual rapists became aroused from pornographic or mass media depictions of women being raped; however the non-rapist population has shown evidence of sexual arousal for the same type of material Donnerstein and Lintz, 1986). The prevalence of pornographic violence and hegemonic masculinity has infiltrated the mainstream media so much so that television also uses the positive victim outcome in its scripts (Donnerstein and Lintz, 1986). The compliance of women towards battery and assault on TV mirrors the aggression I saw in my analysis of gonzo pornography films. The normativity of violence against women in porn narratives and TV in conjunction with cyborg male bodies and sexual perform standards is a hazardous combination for young men.
Young men learning their attitudes about women from the media and pornography view women’s bodies as sexual objects. For instance many man who live by hegemonic masculinity standards tend to have a negative view about breastfeeding, because women’s breast are constructed a sexualized organs (Ward, Merriwether and Caruthers, 2006). Men who absorb pornographic narratives about women’s bodies, and rely on restricted emotionality, and sexual virility as part of masculinity will often engage in sexual risk taking (Ward, Merriwether and Caruthers, 2006). The pornographic narratives I analyzed clearly affect the sexual behaviors and relationships of young men who consume these materials. Men who follow these narratives and hegemonic masculinity lack emotional intimacy and see women as adversaries, have several sex partners and year and evade condom use whenever possible (Ward, Merriwether and Caruthers, 2006). These young men are demonstrating the men with the cyborg bodies and sexualities in pornography be refusing to display emotion and have bareback sex like the men in pornography do. When men learn their masculinity, and sexuality through sources that lower this self-esteem as sexual partners and body image men seem to take control of women’s bodies and reassert masculinity through violence, and homosocial collective sexual pursuits to compensate for not fitting the status quo of hegemonic masculinity.
Control and Violence:
Andrea Dworkin stated, “pornography says that women want to be hurt, forced and abused; pornography says that women want to be raped, battered, kidnapped, maimed; pornography says women want to be humiliated…pornography says that women say “No but mean Yes-Yes to violence, Yes to pain” (Monk-Turner and Purell, 1999,60).
In the private sphere men project hegemonic masculinity through domination and sexual control. Pornographic narratives and portrayals have become more extreme, where acts like double anal, and ass to mouth have become normative acts (Garlick, 2009). Men’s bodies as portrayed in heterosexual gonzo porn are never in any way out of control, like a woman’s body which is dictated and penetrated (Garlick, 2009), Standard porn being viewed by young men is an example where nature (sexuality) is under strict control and compliance to social norms; these narratives always put men in control of women in violent ways which become more and more acceptable (Garlic, 2009). These hegemonic male fantasies that engulf the internet are not only real in the sense that were filmed and occurred, but they spill over into everyday life and in interpersonal relationships between men and women. A substantial amount of evidence alludes that men who watch pornography are more dangerous in real life than men who do not (Simmons, 2008). Large samples of studies conclude that utilizing pornography affects attitudes and behaviors such as sexual assault, intimidation, coercion and violence, including sexual assault of women in relationships with domestic violence offenders (Simmons, 2008). These studies also showed that male abusers who used pornography were the perpetrators of the more sadistic marital rapes (Simmons, 2008). The sources gathered, along with my own content analysis of masculinity and pornography make strong ties that male behavior is affected by this industry.
Homosocial Behavior to Assert Masculinity:
In the public sphere men utilize pornographic narratives learned from the web and media by performing masculinity as a homosocial activity. After demonstrating the clear connections between hegemonic masculinity standards, particularly of body image and sexual cyborg virility young men feel a need to compensate by using the power of collective rituals with other heterosexual male peers (Grazian, 2007). Young men and their friends will seek sexual conquest as a group activity in sexualized arenas such as night clubs (Grazian, 2007). Though the chance of actually hooking up with a women is statistically low, men still insist on hassling women with bad pick-up lines and aggressive sexual advances because it is part of collective male ritual demonstration of heterosexual power (Grazian, 2007). The activity of Girl-Hunting as a homosocial activity is demonstrative of how young men must take some type of control in a world where they do not always meet up to the absurd expectations the mass media and pornography display. A Homosocial activity such as seeking out women in group borrows heavily from the pornographic narratives of gang-bangs, and also the pornographic norm of men sleeping with as many women as possible. Since the male body image and sexuality is constructed young men have had to find a way to re-appropriate porn narratives and gain some sort of hegemonic masculine control in order feel masculine.
From grade school onward boys idolize comic book figures, and cartoon characters like Superman, He-Man, and the Thunder Cats; as they grow older the bodies in the media are the same but applied to actual man making the effects on self-esteem more detrimental. Young men grow up to idolize the muscularity of John Rambo and may begin to watch the gonzo pornography that shapes men’s sexuality and behavior in the Western world. The damages inflicted upon males and their masculinity run deep, but it is not to late reform what being a man is. In order to do this we, as a society and a species must critically analyze and understand the impossible cyborg bodies and sexuality in pornography. We must also critique the displays of violence against women in the most normative or pornography and media. Then people must challenge themselves to think about it will affect their sons, and the women they will be in their lives. Pornography can change; it can be full love and pleasure as the normative instead of hatred and degradation. The masculine bodies and archetypes shown can in action movies can change to looking like your average man, and not some Greco-Roman God. If people can think critically about abuse, and damaged self-worth, it is possible that all of this can certainly change if given enough time and effort. If that day when these narratives change to from misanthropic, tranhumanist ones to compassionate, egalitarian ones is a hundred years, it is still worth working towards. With the use of critical thinking, creating open social forums and direct action these issues and standards may slowly be expunged from our reality.
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