Masculinity Under the Microscope
If we look in the dictionary, the definition of “manly” looks something like this:
Manly: [man-lee] adjective – Belonging to or befitting a man; masculine.
Okay. Great. Thanks dictionary, but that’s not very helpful. We’re guessing most people look elsewhere for their definition? Perhaps fathers, older male role models or friends are better sources? What about mass media? Well, if you watched as much TV and movies, got bombarded with as many ads, or played as many video games as we did growing up, then it would have been hard not to absorb at least some media definitions of manliness.
If you’ve ever questioned the messages and images thrown at you while consuming all that media then you’re in the right place. Here at HowManly.com, we dissect mass media visions of masculinity, placing them under the microscope in search of deeper understanding.
While you’re here poking around, you may notice occasional references to a “Dick-in-a-Box Award.” Don’t be scared off by the name… it’s just a little something that we hand out to the people, events, stories or things that make men look bad.
The “Dick-in-a-Box Award” is named after our mascot, Richard (who graces the top of our site). As you can see, he’s partially stuck in a box and so around here we affectionately call him Dick-in-a-Box. We could call him Rick or Ricky or Rich-in-a-Box but for obvious reasons, Dick-in-a-Box just sounds more fun.
Richard is quite angry. We may not want to see Richard when he’s angry, but we do. All the time. He pops out from time to time to vent and cuss and express his frustration, but sadly for poor Richard, he’s pretty much trapped in that box and venting and cussing is all he can really do about the stuff that angers him.
You may be asking yourself two questions right now. First; “why is Richard stuck in a box?” and second; “what is it that makes him so angry?” Well, despite what it looks like, the box that confines Dick isn’t a physical one. It’s more of a metaphor… a symbolic box that represents the many ways he’s forced to limit his emotions, self-expression, behavior and activities to be seen as tough and manly. Richard very much wants to be seen as tough and manly.
So what makes Richard angry? Basically when people talk about, do things and act in ways that aren’t “normal” to his world view and appear to be out of the box. He has very traditional views on what it means to be a man, so everything I write about seems to piss him off. I make him mad, he starts flexing, yelling and cussing then rips his shirt off and breaks things. It’s all very predictable and frankly kind of hilarious, so I decided to make him my mascot.
Oh and one final thing about Richard… he doesn’t exactly know that he’s trapped in a box. We can see it, but he doesn’t. I’m sure he’s not comfortable in there, but he doesn’t know anything else. So while you’re here, I think it’s best that you don’t say anything to him about it. Okay?