Did you ever notice that there is a repeated male character on sitcoms which you could refer to as – the caveman. He’s a drinking, womanizing, upper class dude – who considers no ones feelings but his own? Think about Barney on How I met your Mother or Charlie on Two and a Half Men. There is also a lower middle class counterpart to this suave caveman – who is the farting, drinking, mess of a caveman that you get on a sitcom like King of Queens – Doug – who can’t seem to do anything right; he’s a docile idiot cave man.
These representations reinforce our understanding of men as out of control animals: inconsiderate, self-centered horrible beings, who either aren’t smart enough to think through the consequences of their actions or they understand these consequences but don’t care about those who will suffer in their wake. As I’m sure you know these characters are well-loved a revered. Consider the messages of Barney Stinson, which have popped-up as memes all over the internet:
I am not saying that these characters and shows aren’t funny – (often they are hilarious), I am just pointing out that this kind of character is often used as a basis for poor male behavior. In other words, the negative generalizations that I often hear about men can easily be linked to these kind of characters. Things like – all men cheat, men are pigs, men are selfish and don’t want to communicate, boys will be boys, etc. Men are not mindless animals – they are conscious beings with hearts, minds and souls and we need to culturally reinforce this idea. Men are awesome – they are beings filled with love, strength, courage, intelligence, frustration and every other human emotion. Being a male does not mean you have to talk down to others, dominate, or be stoic. You can define masculinity for yourself. There are no rules people. The path is yours to define.
(Side note: I feel like the use of “animal” here implies that animals are beings that lack consciousness and that’s not true – so please excuse the use of the word).