I don’t have time to go into detail about this topic, but I do think it’s interesting. As I know from personal experience, the state of being culturally construed as a woman basically boils down to fear: fear that one will be taken advantage of by those culturally construed as men. At the same time, those culturally construed as men have their own fear: fear that they will lose their power. What pathetic, anxious cowards the patriarchy makes of us all!
I was prompted to the masculinity=fear equation by an excerpt from Robert Jensen’s Getting Off: Porn and the End of Masculinity, as posted on Alter.net. Here is the conclusion of the excerpt:
Pornography knows men’s weakness. It speaks to that weakness, softly. Pornography ends up being about men’s domination of women and about the ugly ways that men will take pleasure. But for most men, it starts with the soft voice that speaks to our deepest fear: That we aren’t man enough.
Maybe I’m just sensitive to the anxieties of masculinity because I’m writing about a guy who is firmly convinced that he is not man enough and, interestingly enough, uses porn to try to prove himself to himself.