The Man Child and his portrayal in media: A perspective on growing up male in America.

The portrayal of men and women are often exaggerated within the media and these exaggerations tend to stick with us as a culture.One of the great examples of this can be seen in the commercial industry, a growing multi-billion dollar industry. Most commercials are, of course, devised to sell you something and in doing so they care very little about who they will Alienate as long as their target audience is engaged. One of these images, one of many exploited to sell products,that recently became popular by TV is the idea of a man who is the "50s model of masculinity, but in a distilled form—kick-ass machismo stripped of the accompanying values of honor, duty and loyalty"[1] . This provides an easier path to men, where once they were expected to work and provide for their families, now they believe they can simply enjoy life. A side effect, though intended I'm sure by the media, is the increased amount of advertisements for cell phones, beer, fast food and deodorant.[2]

We can see this portrayal of the "Man Child" in many of the modern movies. The hangover is described by IMDb as A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him. [3] The entire movie is dedicated to portraying this idea of man child. The movie shows the men as being incompetent drunks who cannot even keep track of their friends. What is further implied by the movie is the idea that while these are men who have jobs and families, if given the chance they would go wild without a care in the world. In fact among the tag lines for the movie is whose baby is this? am i missing a tooth? and what happened last night? [4] These tag-lines make it clear that the movie is a representation of males, and despite it being a comedy and an exaggeration, most people wont take that into account and instead focus on those qualities shown.

This representation of the Man Child can be seen in real life as well. Among celebrities occurrences of this kind of behavior can be seen often. A quite recent example of this can be seen in the Charlie Sheen debacle. In his situation he acted exactly like a big baby. He acted without regards to consequences, trashing a hotel room, admitting to hiring porn stars, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Yet he still commands the spotlight in Hollywood[5] . He has not faced the consequences to acting this way and thus presents the idea that it is in fact ok to act this way. An example close to home can be seen in the Kegs and Eggs event at UAlbany this year. They grew up with the idea that its ok to act immature and childish, and that there were no consequences to acting this way. Of course even though Hollywood maybe able to wiggle out of punishment the rest of us cannot. In fact six people were arrested and charged with a range of charges from rioting to assaulting a police officer.[6] Actions, if taken by the faces of Hollywood, that would have no punishments attached.

This goes further to highlight the idea that this is OK behavior, and that because it has become the norm, as seen on TV, there aren't any consequences to acting this way. Growing up as a male in our current media dominated culture means that we see examples of "man child" many times in a day. heavy portrayals of these ideas become our guidance as we grow up. Showing of these images so frequently can result in the future generation acting as they see on TV. On top of this is the fact that we must conform to the popular perception of what it is to be male in our culture. This means more and more occurrences of recklessness and acting like a child. Often we must take a step back and see what it is that we subject our children into, and what the consequences of this could be.

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Sexual Preference: Who hold the power?

Rick Welts

In the society we live in today, there shouldn't be any reason to keep something like sexual preference a secret. Yet this is exactly what many people must do. This is specially important if you hold certain jobs. One of the harshest among these jobs is sports. Most who out themselves while they still play are criticized harshly. For fear of repercussion very few athletes have admitted their homosexuality while still playing. Admitting something like this can be a career-ender. One of the few that have admitted to being gay is NBA executive, Rick Welts. In some of the interviews done he " explained that he wants to pierce the silence that envelopes the subject of homosexuality in men's team sports."[7] Rick Welts was 58 years old when he finally decided to publicly come of of the closet. The fact that to this day he is the only one to come out of the closet and still hold his job is a testament to how hard it must be.
Don Lemon
Another person who has recently come out of the closet is the CNN anchor Don Lemon. In his upcoming memoir he decided to share his journalism life story. He fears that people will ostracize his once they read the memoir because of his sexual preference.He said "I'm talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for."[8] He also feels that he will be looked down upon further because of his African American origin. He feels that he will be a double minority. Its disappointing that he needs to feel this way, at all. I feel that we have come far enough as a society that we should be able to accept the sexual orientation of other people.

Its clear that the power in the case of sexual preference is in the majority, the straight population. The gay population is the minority and thus at the moment being gay is considered "bad". Many of the employers would fall into the majority, the straight population and there are very few if any laws that prevent them from firing someone based on their sexual preferences.The fact that both of these people feel as if coming out of the closet is almost like a crime, something to which there is a punishment, even if its public humiliation, is a sad thought. Being gay does not limit Don Lemon from reporting accurately nor does it prevent a NBA executive from doing his job. Being able to fire someone based on someones sexual preference should be a crime. Maybe then we would have more people admitting their sexual preference without fear of consequences.

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Representation of Difference: a perspective on racism.

We are in the year 2011, over a decade after the passing of the emancipation proclamation and still to this day racism prevails.Despite having an African American president, racism, instead of slowly becoming extinct, has become more widespread than ever before.While it is true that as humans we will gravitate towards those who are similar to us, both physically and mentally, its still no excuse for the amount of intolerance that we experience today. I also think its the natural inclination to think of those that have differing viewpoints as being wrong. Its the ability to get over these inclinations that we need to develop.
The whole debacle dealing with the building of the mosque near ground zero, notice near not on, was based on the superiority felt by the while Americans over those of different color, brown. This form of hatred, you would think, would've died down many decades ago but still continues to this day. The Arizona paper law allows officials to inspect certain individuals simply based on their skin color. This form of discrimination, fueled by the government, will only make future generations decline in terms of our ability to tolerate others. Even our president who we elected democratically is not exempt from being questioned. The attack on his birth is just another way of hiding racism, in a new skin . We all favor one group over another, that's simply human nature, but learning to ignore this favoritism and be fair is what we must aspire to do.

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Connection to another article

" The typical Asian American mentality seems like hard work and studying equals brighter future. But this mentality is the wall that keeps them from the social norm. Instead of learning to enjoy life as a free individual, they are taught at a young age to rather work hard in order to maintain a high social status."[9]

This particular quote from holds greater sway to me because I am indeed an Asian American. Ever since i was little, education was emphasized as being the most important. I was told that without it i would never be able to survive in society. And it was right for Sri Lankan society, but here in America, being social is just as important. In Sri Lanka because education was limited, in order to distinguish your self you have to do well in school, but here everyone has an opportunity to do well in school, which means that i have to do more than just be good at school. In Sri Lanka the number of people who hold college degrees are very few, where as here there are many and its ever competitive, thus you must have more advantages than simply being good at school.I further agree with the article when it says that the reason Asian parents tend to emphasize education, even when living in America, is because of their upbringing. Because when they were growing up they were required put education above everything else, and they haven't had to face that decision while living in America. I think its important to strike a balance between education and socializing, because in order to get ahead in the world you need both.

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  2. ^ http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2526/
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  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1119646/taglines
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  6. ^ http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Kegs-Eggs-and-arrests-1093949.php
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