Throughout the history male leaders have been the most common. Even now, in the 21st century the majority of corporations are led by male CEO’s.

This can be due to the fact that a large percentage of women have to take time off when they are expecting a baby and spent the first weeks, months or years after the birth caring for the child instead of pursuing a career. This costs a lot of time and results in not working at all or not being able to effectively socialize and network during office hours (as we read in the article for today, Women and Leadership). Apart from not having the ability to become leaders, maybe women are just not suited to become leaders.

Female (aspirant) leaders are often thought of as either too masculine or too feminine. Sarah Palin, for example, was seen as too much of a female and wasn’t taken seriously. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was criticized for not being stereotypic female and therefore being too masculine.

Is masculinity a necessary characteristic to become a leader? Males are often more competitive and assertive than women are and those traits are often found in good leaders. But I am sure women can have those characteristics as well and still be very feminine. I think that women operate as better leaders in certain companies and men can be better leaders in others.

So, if we assume that there are more companies a male boss would fit best, then that could explain the higher amount of male CEO’s. It wouldn’t surprise me if there would be a high percentage of male bosses in masculine firms (with a lot of male employees) and a high percentage of female bosses in female firms (with a higher amount of females). It wouldn’t always be right for a masculine company to hire a female boss. If you look at magazines, it would be surprising if a female became the CEO of the Playboy, just as it would be quite a change if a man became the CEO of the Vogue.

- Caroline Mathijssen

Our society depicts the homosexual man as completely lacking masculine characteristics, however in my experiences gay men can be some of the most masculine.  However ubiquitous stereotypes about gay men portray masculinity and homosexuality as entirely dichotomous, leading to entirely misconstrued views of homosexuals in our society – an issue which is detrimental to the acceptance of homosexuals in society.

This video shows 20 stereotypes of Gay men, including a few which are particularly relevant to the discussion of masculinity:

-          Gay men think sports are boring

-          Gay men are obsessed with fashion

-          Gay men love to dance

-          Gay men are incompetent running machinery

-          Gay men always have a trust girl-pal by side

-          Gay are whinny bitches

-          Gay men are catty

-          Gay men are drama queens

-          Gay men pepper their lives with Pop culture references

These stereotypes are largely untrue, as no gay man I have ever met has encapsulated more than a handful of these characteristics.  There is also the fact that many of these traits may also just as easily be applied to straight men as they may to gay men, showing that if masculinity were to be determined by the adherence of men to every single stereotype of masculinity, true masculinity would be unequivocally rare.

Gay stereotypes portray homosexual men as being incapable of masculinity; however these stereotypes are drastically exaggerated in popular culture although they apply only marginally more to homosexual men than they do to straight men.

Curtis Eisen

I’m sure you’re all aware of the recent repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), a groundbreaking decision that will allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the United States armed forces. Over the past eighteen years, 14,000 soldiers were dismissed from the military for being gay, and estimates show that 70,000 soldiers were forced to lie to keep their jobs because of DADT. (

Hearing about this in the news, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Michael Kimmel’s “Masculinity as Homophobia.” He actually said that manhood is “so chronically insecure that it trembles at the idea of lifting the ban on gays in the military.” In his view the insistence on masculinity in our culture leads men to exclude those who are “less than manly,” in order to reassure themselves that their own sense of masculine inadequacy will not be exposed. This concept is epitomized in the soldier, the apparent hyper-masculine red-blooded American man, strong and heroic in protecting our nation. The ban on gays in the military served as the ultimate example of homophobia, an institutionalization more obvious than most of the terrible fear of feminization.

Theoretically, then, the average soldier should be terrified of being identified as part of a group that includes gay men, lest he be accused of homosexuality or even sympathy for homosexuals. However, a surprising amount of soldiers, when directly asked, do not seem to find it an issue, according to multiple sources. A majority of soldiers suspected or knew some of their comrades were gay or lesbian under DADT, yet had not reported them or had any issue serving with them. ( 673/ns/us_news-life/) Another poll said 30% of soldiers would rather gays and lesbians be allowed to serve openly, and another 30% had no opinion one way or the other. ( article/2010/ 09/17/ AR2010091702444.html)  Though there are certainly many soldiers who did support DADT, results of polls like these seem to contradict the absoluteness Kimmel's theory suggests.

If we were to take Kimmel’s words as law in predicting the behavior of men, the repeal of DADT would have never come about. He said, “Shame leads to silence – the silences that keep other people believing that we actually approve of the things that are done to women, to minorities, to gays and lesbians in our culture…Our fears are the sources of our silences, and men’s silence is what keeps the system running.” Perhaps this repeal is a sign that our society has finally moved past some of its fears, or perhaps people have just realized that their personal insecurities do not justify silence in the face of blatant injustice and discrimination. Either way, the repeal of DADT is an enormous step in our country that I can only hope is a sign of things to come.

- Emily Attubato

Hello all! Nicole here.

            So all of this week’s discussion has me thinking… With the insight into what being a transsexual must be like and with this week’s reading on oppression, I feel like something obvious that hasn’t really been said in class needs to be said: it feels more like transsexuals are the oppressed sex than women.  Furthermore, going off of the video from today, it’s much worse for them because it takes a lot more to say something about it.  Last night’s reading talked about how the unsubmissive woman is called “man-hater” and otherwise unpleasantly labeled, but the defiant woman can also be respected. If a transsexual spoke out

1.     S/he’d be revealing a significant secret in his/her life.

2.     S/he’d be opening up h/herself up to a lot of criticism from a vast majority that does not know what living as a transsexual means.

3.     Furthermore they have to put up with a lot more in the way of surgeries and trying to fit in or be something they are not.

This brings me to another point, though.  Perhaps it’s because I am alive during the 3rd wave of feminism but I do not feel particularly oppressed by the males in my life or by society in general.  But I digress, for we had this discussion in class just earlier today.   

Anyway, I somehow feel like all of this categorization of men (males) and women (females) is not really something that “oppressors” do on purpose.  As a society--and especially a western society in which, according to Richard Nisbett, people analyze and categorize the information they intake—we tend to generalize and categorize. (to see more on Nisbett’s cultural and social psychological study see:   As a side note and personal opinion, the idea that masculinity is what it is right now seems to be more the fault of our natural tendencies.  Just a few evenings ago I recall that several of the girls on my floor were taunting one of my guy friends about his apparent lack of masculinity (because he has good hygiene, likes to neatly fold his clothes, etc.).  These girls are just as guilty as other guys, in this case, of making the generalizations about manhood, etc. mentioned in the Kimmel article and judging my friend based on that.  I would even argue that in this case and cases like this one, men really are oppressed—in this case by the standards set by society.  My argument is that they are limited in their behaviors and cannot necessarily be called the oppressors as individuals (at least, certainly guys like my friends shouldn’t be included in the list of oppressors).  Thus they are also oppressed. 

I don’t know.  Personally I feel less limited than I think they do because it is more socially acceptable for women to do most (what could be called “male”) activities than it is for men to partake in a gender a-typical behavior.

Sorry for such a long blog post, guys. Guess I got carried away there.

~Signing off