After reading Noah Brand’s post “Height,” I remembered a conversation I had with my younger brother (he is a sophomore her at OU) once. We were discussing how boys and girls judge their own sex differently at first glance, my opinion being that for many girls it’s a question of who’s better looking, and I was curious if boys ever thought the same. My brother told me one of the first things he thinks of upon seeing and/or meeting another guy is “Can I beat him up?”
I can’t help but notice the parallels in the way girls judge each other and the way guys judge each other. (As a disclaimer, I’m not speaking for all women everywhere by saying each time we meet someone new we immediately decide whether or not they are prettier than us. But for the sake of argument, that’s what I’m going with right now.) Brand spoke about how he automatically detests any males he meets that are taller than him. And girls feel threatened when they meet another female who is good-looking. For men it is a question of ingrained masculinity, tall=masculine, and almost always has. If a man isn’t tall, he must do something else to make up for his lack of height. Lift weights perhaps, or becoming a smart businessman. For men, lacking signs of masculinity is embarrassing and unacceptable among their own gender.
In Don Ihde’s article he mentions how he never excelled at sports, but intellectually he was gifted. Although intelligence is not always considered a sign of masculinity, being stupid is definitely worse. The “jocks” of high school usually always have a friend or two that is not as athletically gifted as them, but that’s because they are funny or adventurous. They have to compensate in some way for the traits they don’t have. The masculine aspects that a man shows the world is essential to his survival, most noticeably socially and professionally.