When we hear the terms, rapists, predator, sex offender,.. etc, it is safe to assume that a man is the culprit. This holds true for all races, social classes, and even in countries abroad. Sexual offenses are the works of men. Why is this? What makes this possible. Is it intrinsic to the nature of a man? Does society play a role? Are sexual offenses somehow inadvertently encouraged? There are many factors that support numerous theories on this issue. Personally, I believe that society’s perception of a real man, of a real women and the way male individuals deals with these ideologies has everything to do with the reason they are more likely to commit sexual offenses.
Men are aggressive. Not necessarily but theoretically. This opinion is socially regarded as fact for two reasons. Firstly, it stems from how men are biologically possessing higher amounts of testosterone than their female counterparts. Secondly, it stems from the view of men and what they are made out to be in society. To be a man, a real man, is to be the aggressor. Males who take charge, take what they want (sexual desires included), and take action are seen as “real men”. This perception is condoned especially in mainstream media. Movies and shows constantly attractive men who are able to get whatever and whomever they want because they take it. Infidelity in mainstream media is even more common supporting the supposed uncontrollable sexual desires of men. And furthermore, statements such as “It’s a man’s world.” and “Boys will be boys.”, or even the expression “Man up!” have become socially acceptable.
Contrarily, women are often perceived as victims. A real woman is vulnerable and easy going. To fit in the woman box, is to be demure . And since these characteristics are what a “real woman” is composed of, this becomes appealing to society. It should go without saying that mainstream media supports these notions. We see the “damsel in distress” role in almost every film. To be a real woman is to be desirable and sexually desirable women are often vulnerable and demure in the eyes of society, opposing their “aggressive” counterparts. as members of society, men see women in this same respect. Additionally, viewing women in such ways can compliment their gender role and influence their view of themselves as a man in society.
In retrospect, men are to be powerful in society and if they are not there should be a quest for power or control. Because social norms aren’t always followed, there may be instances were masculinity( and in a sense sexuality) is threatened and a man feels he must compensate to redeem himself. For example rejection from the opposite sex, being called a “pussy” by other males, or even feeling overtly emotional or sad can in a way refute a man’s masculinity, his view of himself. All of these instances question the sexual prowess of the man. To regain this sense of sexual power and to renew the male ego men can often act in ways that appeal to society’s view. To feel like and to embody a “real man”, men must oppose their female counterparts. Sadly, this translates to actual opposition, making women the targeted victims of these aspiring “real men”.
Without a doubt, all sexual assaults are wrong and unacceptable. However, it is important to understand the role that society plays in these acts that are becoming increasingly common. We must understand how our views of men and what we support through gender roles may fuel some of the fire when it comes to opposition between the sexes. It should be noted that the sense of sexual prowess is not only intrinsic to men. Society’s idea of a “real woman”, one who is desirable and appealing to the opposite sex, greatly influences the way women act and how they take control. For instance, many women dress provocative in order to be more womanly. Showing off the female figure is a way for women to exercise their sexual prowess and to enhance their femininity, as women can to feel rejection just as their male counterparts. Basically, we have women trying to be more womanly and men trying to be more manly. The two sexes are constantly attempting to mold themselves into these gender roles in order to appeal to society, and ultimately the opposite sex.