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The Manliness Within: Are Genders Interchangeable?. Shivani Shah Katerina Jeng Amar Parikh. Does being a man make you a man? Do the physical qualifications of a man warrant you to be called a man emotionally as well?
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The Manliness Within:Are Genders Interchangeable? Shivani Shah KaterinaJeng Amar Parikh
Does being a man make you a man? Do the physical qualifications of a man warrant you to be called a man emotionally as well? Jacob, who is physically a man, is shown as “unmanly” in the emotional sense. He cries himself to sleep, cannot reproduce due to his impotency, contemplates relationships to the extent of which women tend to, and calls upon prostitutes simply for the company while eating dinner. p. 42 Brett says to Jacob, “Don’t be sentimental.” Jacob says to himself later, while getting ready for bed, “This was Brett, that I had felt like crying about.”
Do you have to be a man to be a “man”? Do the attitudinal ways of a man classify you as a man? Brett characterizes herself as a man, while she is physically a woman. She behaves like the typical man of the decade: she goes to bars, drinks excessively, and engages in promiscuous activities. She refers to herself as a “chap” and wears a man’s hat. Also, unlike most of the women, Brett has no care whatsoever about the emotional investments of others.
Brett says, “Give a chap a drink.” This line alone signifies two of her characterizations as a “man”. She refers to herself as a “chap” as a means of self-empowerment and yearning for gender equality. Her blatant request for a drink also furthers the notion that she desires to be equal to males. It was highly uncommon for women of that time to walk into bars, consume drink after drink, and still maintain a good reputation. On the other hand, it was deemed perfectly acceptable for most men to behave in this manner.
What do you have to do to be considered a man? Robert is characterized as the epitome of a man. He has many friends, he boxes and he is wealthy, spending his money wastefully and doing whatever pleases him. He believes he can have as many women as he wants, especially after his publication. He goes from woman to woman without so much a thought as to the feelings harmed in the process.
Robert is a whimsical character in that he does not think out his actions, but simply acts on a whim and does whatever he wants. He is also a character that has wanderlust; he cannot stay in one place and commit to one person and one setting. Robert isn’t truly a man. While he is portrayed as a man on the surface, he is really a cowardly brute who is motivated solely by self-interest and the sensual pleasures of life. p 146 - 147 Mike points out the truth in Robert’s ‘manliness’ when he says “…none of your friends would invite you on any of the parties. You can’t blame them…Why do you follow Brett around [like a steer]…What if Brett did sleep with you? She’s slept with lots of better people than you.”