Men are Animals was a talk about the stereotypes that men are wild and uncontrollable, especially in comparison to women. The speaker talked about violence, sexuality, parenthood, and habits. He spoke a lot about his experiences from Mexico, and the stereotypes he witnessed (and kind of endured) there. (The
He didn’t put it this way, but he kind of spoke about two view points:
1: The stereotype that “boys will be boys,” or that men can’t help themselves.
2: The second view point, was based off a quote by a female writer. The concept of the quote was: only some boys act poorly, and we need to stop this poor action, and that we can stop this action.
Both of these ideas center around biology vs. culture. The speaker referenced many writers, speakers, and even scientists that thought that men were made to be reckless, killers, rapers, and cheaters. They believed it is and always has been hereditary for men to behave this way. The people who think this way believe that the only way to limit this behavior is to restrict what they can do. The speaker gave an example of train cars in Mexico that didn’t allow men over a certain age to enter. The other point stated that the way men behave as superiors, reckless and powerful has become a part of many cultures. This stems back hundreds of thousands of years, all across the globe. The second view point challenges this idea of biology, exclaiming that biology isn’t what counts, CULTURE is what counts! –> And, culture, that is something we as a people, we as a race, can change. By saying that “boys are just gonna be boys” we are making it okay for some to act really poorly.
Both the idea that men can be reckless and violent, and the idea that “biology isn’t what counts, culture is,” rings home for American history.
The prelude to America, it’s formation, and its beginning (what we have covered so far in class) all are dominated by men. This isn’t because women were less capable or smart then men were, but its because they simply lacked opportunity. They weren’t trained for jobs or war, nor were they taught nearly to the extent that men were. Men’s immediate claim to power and aggression was a huge part of this. Women of the time just weren’t allowed to be as a prominent in this history, because men were too selfish, power-hungry, and frankly, mean to allow this. Women didn’t neccessarily take the back seat in the beginning of American history, but women’s rights didn’t take giant steps until hundreds of years after the formation of America. The concept of “boys will be boys,” while not so prominent in teachings of American history, certainly has always been a part of this American society.
However, the other idea also relates to American history, as both a fact and a metaphor.
Stemming from the concept that we can change culture America has broken and broken again (and then sometimes recreate) old ways that we realize probably shouldn’t be in effect. We are still on this journey of course, but the extent that we have progressed is pretty incredible. Several hundred years ago we were ruled by a super powerful empire, with roots of racism surrounding our country; now we are a booming republic, independently run, with an African-American president. The steps that it took to travel this far required a lot of “we can change culture”s. Men still do dominate much of politics, are payed more for jobs, and probably have the unfair upper-hand in quite a bit of places. But, men and women have both made it a priority to change this. The Women’s Right Movement lasted during the mid-20th century, and permanently changed American society and culture. It continues to be less and less okay, and tolerated for men to act violently, selfishly, or recklessly. This change and push perfectly agrees with the woman’s idea that culture is forever shifting, and that we can shift it ourselves.
“Biology isn’t what counts, CULTURE is what counts,” has been a statement that could define America, as a metaphor as well. For example this concept could represent the time when colonial America outlasted a repressive and powerful Britain. Biology could represent the idea that a leader should be chosen by blood, like in a monarchy. And culture could represent the political, social, and economic view points of a new society across the Atlantic Ocean (colonial America), that just so happened to disagree with this idea, and not tolerate the results of this idea. The American people of the time screamed their hatred of the British monarchy, “biology,” and eventually their view points and ideas, “culture,” “counted,” and won out. The idea that “we can change culture” helped America change its path forever, and become the nation it is today.
YOung boy with father in army