Image Of Man


The Image of Man Essay
Throughout the past few centuries, man has been notorious for his masculinity. However, masculinity was labeled by the changing societies and ideals, creating different aspects of manliness. By objectifying human nature, people began to stereotype. By stereotyping, it mad it easier for people to understand by perceiving and to a great extent passing judgment on another human being.
The stereotype of masculinity seemed to arise somewhere in between the second half of the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. With the beginning of the modern age, Europe started to enter a more visually oriented age, therefore making the formation of the male body become key. Europeans began to homogenize, or look at man as a type, rather than an individual. They believed that there was no reason for individual change and wanted the men to accept measure up to the ideal of masculinity. Masculinity was strengthened due to the positive stereotyping, however for those that did not conform to this label or fit in with the ideal, were negatively stereotyped. Nationalism and masculinity went hand in hand. As masculinity became adopted as part of the national stereotype, they initiated their growth together. Mass stereotyping was bourgeois orientated. At first, mass stereotyping was for intended purposes of being and open ended process, yet it eventually turned into a distinct ambition. Women, during this period, projected chastity and innocence. While men and women were thought of as not equal, they were thought as to compliment each other. Racism, especially towards the Jewish and Africans, became clear and developed from the judgment of masculinity. Because the ideal had already been set and put into play, the counter parts, Jewish, Africans, or others, had no room to advance. The ideal of masculinity started to sway as the Enlightenment approached and came. The model was of humanistic spirit, rather than the anatomy and returned to the ideas of socialist men such as Max Alder. However, this shot at changing the normative male stereotype failed.
The bourgeois was the main component in shaping the ?modern man?. But, there were previous contributing factors to the molding of this masculine stereotype. Medieval ideals lasted well into modern times. Chivalry was a main factor and to be called a coward was a great insult. The duel had been a ritual since the sixteenth century and was fought for male honor. Aristocratic ideals consisted of the linkage of blood, or lineage and descent. Theses ideals were primarily based on warrior caste. The ingredients in forming this modern masculinity, was through the combination and adjustment of both aristocratic and bourgeois classes. This merging of classes started to reflect in the way society saw man. By the end of the eighteenth century the standard of masculinity was measured by looks, appearance, and behavior. In Germany, the bourgeois male code of honor was used as a status symbol. Jewish people were gradually excluded. And the elite fraternities would have male dueling. In France, the duel was not to kill, but to display manly qualities. By the end of the nineteenth century, the emphasis was basically pointed at justice and equality. ?If a man defends his honor for sole purpose of appearing honorable, the honor code ceases to fulfill its original function and becomes a travesty. (20, endnote #21) This justice and equality began when the duelers would handshake at the end of a match. Duels went on and became a form of exercise and meant not only moral toughness, but physical as well. The duels along with other undertakings started to set a standard, which becomes known as the new masculine modern stereotype. The masculine ideal valued the physical, moral, and visual perceptions, and became a symbol of society and nation. The Enlightenment focused on the joining of the body and spirit. Johann Kaspar Lavater's theory comprised of seeing people through their physical, such as their color, nose, eyes, and bodily structure. He stated that the Greeks were more beautiful than the people of today and if a man could base his beauty on the Greeks then they would attain moral posture. This general principle was derived from actual concrete evidence such as engravings and statues. With the turn of the nineteenth century, came the gymnastics ideal, which was