I am able to relate to Shame-O-Phobia as a guy. I can’t say that I am entirely sure what this reading is doing in a feminist textbook, but that is what this blog is going to be about. My own idea about why it is one of the readings is that it helps explain and look in-depth into guys doing things are more stereotypic to female’s characteristics.
First, I think that the participants that were told that the icy water was testing their male hormones probably froze their hand(s) at least twice as much as the group that was told they were testing their ability to bond with a child. I know that my hand would have stayed in that water for as long as possible if I was convinced that my manhood was being tested, but why? The author speculates why but I have my own idea (which is based off of women’s studies).
What I think that the author is trying to say is that there are very few places in this world of a subordinate, non-masculine adult male who lack ambition and other behaviors that people favor in men. That type of person seems doomed in this society. Women on the other hand, are different in this matter. It is more socially acceptable in the United States to see a female athlete competing in sport than seeing a man crying. On the other hand, it is fine and equally accepted to watch a male athlete compete or to see a woman cry. There is nothing too strange about that. The point is that women have a larger range of attitudes and life choices that they can make with it still being accepted by society where as men have less behaviors that they can express making manhood very sacred.
As for the rest of this reading, it is true that we (guys) are hardwired not to experience emotions on the same level of intensity as women (on average). However, that is of course not to say that men can’t feel or experience empathy. This is partly because of the gender role that we conform too in society and what is favored by those whom we are closest too. I would never cry in front of my fiancé or my father. It is my personal choice and that is something that I choose not to blame on gender or my society.