Comparing Sedaris’ Conflict with Kimmel's Portrayal of Social and Academic Impact of Masculinity in School

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The essays "War Against Boys" by Michael Kimmel and "I Like Guys" by David Sedaris provide insight into the tension and challenges of sexuality among boys in school (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 294-310). Kimmel discusses how the world perceives "average" boys in class as rugged, defiant, violent, and arrogant. Since the social environment of the school demands boys to be respectful, obey the rules, and remain quiet in class, society interprets this as a battle against boys and "manliness." Sedaris' article expresses similar feelings. Boys are expected to behave in a certain way, with aggression and masculinity, that if one does not fit into that context, he is discriminated.

Sedaris knows that deep down he is gay. He “likes guys” (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 309). However, due to the negative perception was given to homosexuals, he has to hide his feeling and even distance himself from all boys in the class that are gay (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 302). Even in the classroom, their stereotypic thoughts of gays are “weird” is persistent. As Sedaris’s Spanish teacher says, she wants her “her firstborn to be a boy” because of the other way round; the “boy will turn out funny” (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 303). This is not limited to class. Sedaris’s has to suppress his feelings for men (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 303), and as seen in the summer camp, connecting with Jason leaves him confused about his feelings and fear of the coach finding out their exploits.

Sedaris likes guys not because he has been forced to by the feminism or “hardwired” to be that way, rather, it is who he is. Kimmel states that boys will grow up to be men, and “hardwiring” them “towards compassion, nurturing, and love” does not affect their sexuality (Ford, Marjorie and Jon Ford, 300). Just as the Sedaris and Kimmel show, sexuality is at trial and the society wants men to behave like men and the same for women.

Works Cited

Ford, Marjorie, and Jon Ford. Dreams and Inward Journeys. 8th ed., Boston, Pearson, 2012.

January 13, 2023

Sociology Psychology


Identity Behavior

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