Is One Rodman Enough

Is One Rodman Enough?
In todays world everybody has his or her own view
of what makes a male masculine and a female feminine. If a
male were to possess some traits that would be known as
feminine, he would be seen as a homosexual. Likewise, if a
female were to possess some traits that would be known as
masculine, she would be looked upon as being butch.
Present day television shows and films mold most peoples
views on gender identity. A persons job helps to define
their gender identity in other peoples eyes. Television
and films portray certain professions to be very feminine.
For example, have you ever seen a macho, male hair stylist
in a movie or on television? A persons choice of clothing
also molds their gender identity in other peoples eyes.
If a man were to wear tight, pink spandex all the time he
would be looked upon as being a homosexual because spandex
was made for females to wear. However, knowing all of
this, there are some people who are considered exceptions
to these concepts. Dennis Rodman is one of these
exceptions. Rodman is a professional basketball player who
is known for his aggressive style of play on the court.
This aggressive style gives him a very masculine image.
Nonetheless, he portrays himself as having many feminine
characteristics when he is not playing basketball. Knowing
this, are people like Dennis Rodman redefining the gender
Persons who display success and high status in
their social group, who exhibit a manly air of toughness,
confidence, and self-reliance and the aura of aggression,
violence, and daring, and who conscientiously avoid
anything associated with femininity are seen as exuding
masculinity (Pleck 139). If nothing of Rodmans lifestyle
were known, other than his professional basketball career,
according to Pleck, he would be seen as exuding
masculinity. However, more of his lifestyle is known and
seen by a lot of people. Three years ago Rodman wrote an
autobiography of his life. After the release of his book,
he held book-signing sessions. At most of these sessions
Rodman wore a white wedding gown with his face was covered
in makeup. The appearances in that outfit helped to lessen
the shock of some of the things that he wrote in his book.
Rodman, who up to this point was considered a man who was
too aggressive at times, states in his book that has had
many fantasies of having a sexual relationship with another
male. He also writes that he is bisexual. Rodmans
forthcomings in his book shocked the entire world. This
man who seemed to epitomize masculinity had come forward
and told everyone that he had many tendencies that would be
considered feminine. Despite the fact that Rodman has
these feminine and bisexual tendencies, he is still
accepted in society as a very masculine individual.
Rodman is in an extremely unique situation. Dennis
Rodman is in the media spotlight all the time. Because of
that, he is effecting how people perceive males who do not
possess all the characteristics of one who exudes
masculinity. However, for every scenario like that of
Rodmans, there are thousands of other scenarios of other
highly publicized individuals who do not show any
characteristics of the opposite sex. This is why the ideas
of masculinity and femininity, which have been so firmly
implanted in societys mind, will not be changing anytime
Just as Pleck defined the qualities of masculinity,
femininity, according to Meyer and Hookes, would result in
warm and continued relationships with men, a sense of
maternity, interest in caring for children, and the
capacity to work productively and continuously in female
occupations (444). A warm and continued relation with men
and interest in maternity requires that females be
heterosexually oriented. Many activities and modes of
expression are recognized by most members of society as
feminine. Any of those can be, and often are, displayed by
persons of either gender. In some cases, cross gender
behaviors are ignored by observers, and therefore do not
compromise the integrity of a persons gender display. In
other cases, they are labeled as inappropriate gender role
behaviors (Devor 425-426). Homosexuality is considered by
a lot of people to be inappropriate behavior. This is
another reason why societys view on gender roles and
identities will not change anywhere in the near future.
In an analogy, Dennis Rodman is like the one orange
stuck in an apple tree. He is definitely different than
most people that appear in the medias spotlight as much as
he does. However, as much as Rodman makes his lifestyle
known and as much as he is accepted in society for who and
what he is, there is not much he can do to change the views
of all of society. Gender identities will remain as they
are as long as television and movies portray certain types
of people as being different. Once the stereotypes are
removed from societys views, then maybe the gender
identities will be revised in peoples mind.

Works Sited
Elizabeth Hafkin Pleck, Domestic Tyranny: The making of
Social Policy Against
Family Violence from Colonial Times to Present
(Cambridge: Oxford
University Press, 1989), 139.
Jon K. Meyer, John E. Hoopes, The Gender Dysphoria
Syndromes: A position
Statement on So-Called Transexualism, Plastic
and Reconstructive Surgery 54
(October 1974), 444
Holly Devor, Becoming Members of Society, Rereading
America (Boston: St.
Martins Press, 1998), 425-426

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