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Shame-O-Phobia

In the essay, “Shame-O-Phobia,” David Wexler writes about the different ways men react in specific situations that they classify as  “shameful.” Wexler discusses the different ways that men react in these situations when their manhood is in jeopardy. Society has set specific guidelines for men. These guidelines include being tough, being emotionless and independent. These are ways that men earn their man points. However, when they are witnessed doing something that shows otherwise, the exact opposite occurs. They loose their man points. As a male, I found this to be humorous. I haven’t really thought of the way men act as a “game.” Sure, many men do refuse to show any other side to themselves but their masculinity. But I haven’t noticed a friend act or myself in specific ways in order to defend their masculinity.

Wexler begins his essay by introducing his personal experience. He refers back to a time his wife had asked him to hold her purse for her. However, he refused to do so because he feared he would loose his “card carrying male” title. I would not usually be caught holding a purse. However, if I was asked to hold one for someone, I do not think I would have reacted the same way. It is true that not many males would be caught crying in public or talking about their emotions. Societies portrayal of a man has affected that area as well. If a specific action does not seem to be “manly” then men wont participate in that action. It is just how society plays out.

Wexler makes many arguments in his essay. He introduces the broken mirror effect. He states that it is mostly in men and that it is a metaphor from self-psychology, which represents ones well being based on their responses. If the mirror breaks, then it is a negative image, which eventually leads to a sudden outburst from the man.


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