My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler*

on May 4, 2012

I randomly had this song in my head the other day, and when I looked it up on YouTube I realized that it’s kinda terrible.  Feminists talk a lot about the immense pressure that women are under to look perfect and stifle parts of their humanity (physically and intellectually).  But listening to this song reminded me how ridiculous the pressure is for men as well.

“He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”

Really?  Why?  I mean, I want an amazing perfect guy as much as the next person (who has also been socialized to believe that a ‘perfect guy’ exists), but strong, fast, and fresh from the fight aren’t really things that I want in a partner.  Except that actually, if I was faster than him or stronger than him, or more likely to fight than him, I wouldn’t really think he was perfect.  As much as I hate to admit it, those things are kind of important for me to see a man as ‘man enough.’

If you’re an average looking woman who just doesn’t quite fit the current beauty norms, your femininity will not be questioned.  If you’re a man who doesn’t fit norms of masculinity, your manhood will absolutely be questioned.  Talk about pressure.  So you have to be strong, you have to be a fighter – in fact, according to this song, you have to be a friggin’ Superman to sweep a girl off her feet. 

And just like with women, both genders police masculinity.  I tend to think mostly of men policing other men by calling them gay, or fags, or pussies, etc. (because it doesn’t take strength to come out as gay right?  Pussies are weak too… what do they do?  Push babies out?  That’s nothin!) but women are also putting messages out there that we don’t want human beings, we want ‘Men.’

And in order to be a ‘Man’ you must show no weakness.  You must be Hercules, or a white knight, or Superman.  You must be a hero.  But fuck that.  We don’t need heroes.  We don’t need to be saved.  We need to be loved.  And an unemotional, ‘strong,’ hero of a man can’t truly love us because we have forced him to suppress his true self – his true humanity.  No wonder we’re all miserable**.  Men are trying to be half of themselves to be heroes (for us?), and we’re waiting for Superman.  Who wins here?  Really?

*Bonnie Tyler originally did this, but I like the Frou Frou/Shrek version best

**Or is that just me? Lol.

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