“We are men of action,” Wesley says. “Lies do not become us.”
While an excellent line from _The Princess Bride_, it is redundant. Culturally, we teach our men that they *are* action, and nothing more. They – we – are not expected to do anything other than perform and provide.
“Thank you for your service,” Clark Howard tells the veteran on the radio. “How long were you in the Army?”
“Twelve years,” the caller says.
“Couldn’t make the full twenty?” The joking lilt to Clark’s voice is sharper; there’s a judging edge to this. I don’t catch all of the caller’s response, just enough to hear that his child was five and he wanted to spend more time with them and not move them around as much.
“Oh, military brats are better able to make friends because they move around so much,” Clark says, and is completely wrong.
There was a clear expectation that the man’s action – serving in the military – was more important than his emotions in caring for his child… and that truth could and would be subverted to reinforce that paradigm.
These are simply other expressions of the theme Ms. Bordo notes in “Pills and Power Tools“. Men judge themselves on “action” – and even that is simplified to one organ. The normal ranges for this organ – and its performance – seem inadequate. This seems to be largely due to the media portrayals of of male sexual performance from mass media. While Ms. Bordo correctly notes that male sexual performance is rarely visualized onscreen, what portrayals there are in mass media do little to correct the very inaccurate (and often essentially faked) representations in pornography.
But the crux of the matter – as she notes – is that the penis is seen as representative of sex, and simultaneously seen as not part of the whole man. It is seen as simply “a machine” that can be “fixed” by pills. This mindset – reflected in jokes and songs about a man’s “other head” and how it has a mind of its own – divorces one’s both the responsibility and the emotionality of sexuality from the whole person. This can’t be a good thing.