How Gender Roles Trap Men

The Empathy Gap: Masculinity and the Courage to Change

Directed by Thomas Keith (2015)

Film Review

This documentary asserts our culture traps men in a stereotypical gender role, just as it does women. Stereotypical masculinity requires contemporary men not to express feelings (except anger), not to show empathy or vulnerability, to control and dominate (with violence if necessary), to excel at athletics, to degrade women, and to accumulate material possessions.

Research indicates boys tend to be open about expressing feelings until age 14, when they become terrified of being labeled “faggots” or “wusses” if they are at all open with emotions or feelings of vulnerability.

Contemporary society also socializes men to have little interest (outside the sexual arena*) in the experiences of women. Our culture typically portrays women as incompetent, unreliable, and emotional. Most of this socialization occurs very early in life via the media.

The filmmakers share vignettes five-year-old children of both sexes consistently choosing boy dolls as “smarter” and girl dolls “as nicer.”

According to Keith, Donald Trump, more than any other contemporary male figure personifies this stereotypical masculinity. The latter carefully cultivates an image of being tough, distant, and demeaning to women. As part of this script he nearly always addresses conflict with aggression and rarely displays any emotions other than anger.

Sadly little has changed in fifty years. A comparison of the idiocies broadcast by right wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Erick Erikson reveals little difference between their personna and that of the fictional Archie Bunker in the 1970s TV series All in the Family.

Research shows men in groups are more likely to exhibit toxic masculinity than men on their own.

*In my experience, most men aren’t very interested in women’s sexuality, either.

Anyone with a public library card can view the film free at Kanopy. Type “Kanopy” and the name of your library into your search engine.

2 thoughts on “How Gender Roles Trap Men


    by Debbie Hadley
    Updated December 30, 2018
    The male honeybee, called a drone, exists for one reason and one reason only: to mate with a virgin queen. He is entirely expendable after he provides this service to the colony. The drone takes his mission seriously, however, and gives his life for the cause.

    How Honeybees Do the Deed
    Honeybee sex occurs in mid-air when the queen flies out in search of mates, her one and only “nuptial flight.” Drones compete for the chance to mate with their queen, swarming around her as she flies. Eventually, a brave drone will make his move.

    As the drone grasps the queen, he everts his endophallus using a contraction of his abdominal muscles and hemostatic pressure and inserts it tightly into the queen’s reproductive tract. He immediately ejaculates with such explosive force that the tip of his endophallus is left behind inside the queen and his abdomen ruptures. The drone falls to the ground, where he dies soon after. The next drone removes the previous drone’s endophallus and inserts his, mates, and then dies as well.

    And as the dying male drone bee falls to the ground he cries out,

    “I’d have been better off having a wank”!]

    Queen Bees Really Get Around
    During her one nuptial flight, the queen will mate with a dozen or more partners, leaving a trail of dead drones in her wake. Any drones that remain around the hive in the fall will be unceremoniously driven from the colony before cold weather sets in. Honey stores are simply too precious to waste on a sperm donor. The queen, on the other hand, will store the sperm for use throughout her life. The queen can store 6 million sperm and keep them viable for up to seven years, with the potential of producing 1.7 million offspring during her lifetime, as she uses a few at a time to fertilize her eggs.

    Bee Egg Development
    In late winter, the queen then lays eggs in the cells of the hive, up to 1,000 in one day at the height of the season. The hive needs mature bees to be ready to go when flowers with pollen are emerging, but she will continue to lay eggs until fall. Worker bee eggs mature in about 21 days, drones in about 24 days (from unfertilized eggs), and other queens in about 16 days. The hive needs backup queens in case the queen dies, becomes incapable of laying eggs or is lost because a hive doesn’t survive without one.

    What Workers Do
    In contrast to the drones, female worker bees take on many jobs. They clean cells for eggs to be laid; feed larvae; construct the comb; guard the hive; and forage. They can lay an egg to become a drone if needed, but their eggs can’t become workers or queens.

    Insects and Sexual Suicide
    Though honeybee mating is one of the most dramatic examples of sexual suicide in the insect world, it’s not the only one. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as gruesome as it gets. How would you like your head to be eaten by your mate during sex like is the fate for some male praying mantis?



    The Manipulated Man Paperback
    by Esther Vilar (Author)
    Esther Vilar’s classic polemic about the relationship between the sexes caused a sensation on its first publication. In her introduction to this revised edition, Vilar maintains that very little has changed. A man is a human being who works, while a woman chooses to let a man provide for her and her children in return for carefully dispensed praise and sex. Vilar’s perceptive, thought-provoking and often very funny look at the battle between the sexes has earned her severe criticism and even death threats. But Vilar’s intention is not misogynous: she maintains that only if women and men look at their place in society with honesty, will there be any hope for change.

    I found this book very fascinating to read as it is a real eye opener and what’s surprising is how this book was written by a woman. To me, she was being honest as in confessing about the nature of women and how men are manipulated to believe their entire self-worth and identity of a man is determined by woman and how they are exploited in various ways, which proves that men are not considered human beings but human doings. It also proves that men on average are noble but disposable and how they are exploited by women for their own ends. Many feminists and their minions the white knights and manginas would consider this to be “misogynistic” as it does not fit the victim narrative they impose to society. However the type of men she describes that are subjects to exploitation by women are those that place women on a pedestal, commonly referred to as “blue pilled” within the manopshere and men that are “woke” or refer themselves as “red pilled” cannot be exploited so easily. This book can also serve as guide for men to be aware on how manipulative women can be and what it is to be a man. Highly recommended.

    THE MANIPULATED MAN is the most uncompromising challenge yet hurled at women – by a woman!

    “At a time when men are nervously scrutinizing themselves for tell-tale signs of male chauvinism, along comes Esther Vilar to take them under her wing . . . Her
    descriptions of male and female behavior are . . . wincingly accurate.”


    As absurd as it may sound, today’s men need feminism much more than their wives do. Feminists are the last ones who still describe men the way they like to see themselves: as egocentric, power-obsessed, ruthless and without inhibitions when it comes to satisfying their instincts. Therefore the most aggressive Women’s Libbers find themselves in the strange predicament of doing more to maintain the status quo than anyone else. Without arrogant accusations, the macho man would no longer exist, except perhaps in the movies. If the press stylise men as rapacious wolves, the actual sacrificial lambs of this “men’s society”, men themselves, would no longer flock to the factories so obediently.

    A woman who defended the arch- enemy – who didn’t equate domestic life with solitary confinement and who described the company of young children as a pleasure, not a burden – necessarily had to become a “misogynist”, even a “reactionary” and “fascist” in the eyes of the feminist.

    Had not Karl Marx determined once and for all that in an industrial society it is us, the women, who are the most oppressed?

    It goes without saying, doesn’t it, that someone who did not want to take part in the canonisation of her own sex is also opposed to equal wages and equal opportunities?

    Here is a list of issues which I recognised to be men’s most significant disadvantages compared to women.

    1. Men are conscripted; women are not.

    2. Men are sent to fight in wars; women are not.

    3. Men retire later than women (even though, due to their lower life- expectancy, they should have the right to retire earlier).

    4. Men have almost no influence over their reproduction (for males, there is neither a pill nor abortion – they can only get the children women want them to have).

    5. Men support women; women never, or only temporarily, support men.

    6. Men work all their lives; women work only temporarily or not at all.

    7. Even though men work all their lives, and women work only temporarily or not at all, on average, men are poorer than women.

    8. Men only “borrow” their children; woman can keep them (as men work all their lives and women do not, men are automatically robbed of their children in cases of separation – with the reasoning that they have to work).

    As one can see, if anything, the female position of power has only consolidated. Today a career in the military is also open to women in many countries – but without conscription for all.

    Many achieved for themselves the right to practice their job for the same number of years as their male colleagues – however, the retirement age was not increased for all of us. And now as before, it does not occur to the underprivileged to fight against this grotesque state of affairs. Only as far as the sixth point is concerned, has there been a significant change. In the more entertaining spheres of work, there are more and more women who happily and willingly work and still keep their jobs despite having the children they nevertheless desire. But only a few of these women would be prepared to offer a life of comfort not only to their children but also the children’s fathers, supported by their often substantial salaries; and fewer would further be prepared, in case of a separation, to give up their home and offspring and support the next admirer with what is left of her income.

    Also, men would not like it: emancipation may be fine, but to be “kept” by a woman is still not acceptable – housekeeping and raising children is not worthy of a “real” man. Sadly, women’s manipulation of men is as topical today as it was back then, but so are the measures which could be used to end it – to the benefit of both sexes.

    In the meantime, however, there are already a few feminists who are talking also about men as human beings, so the continuation of this discussion may not have to be conducted quite so

    Why are women never unmasked?


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