Cultural Analysis of a Reddit Online Space

Published: 2021-08-02
1888 words
7 pages
16 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
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The society sets out certain expectations concerning different genders. However, gender relationships, processes, and social reproduction were shaped throughout history. Much of the social reproduction happens in the family unit through the distribution of duties affected by the family, market, community and the state. Nonetheless, the feminist idea of social reproduction is a bit different when compared to that of modernization theory, which seeks to overturn all the traditional beliefs and give the woman a voice in a male-dominated world. This paper advances discussion on cultural analysis of a reddit online space through analyzing several relevant post on the Reddit online space with regard to their effect on aspects such as self-confidence on women, decision making in both men and women and the dynamic nature of the culture.

The post on the online space called Reddit titled What are your thoughts on cosmetic plastic surgery in the section Ask Men, seeks the views of diverse men on the issue of plastic surgery. Some men feel that in this modern world, women have a voice and can decide to change their looks without the influence of a man. Most of the women who undergo the process of plastic surgery do not even inform their husbands or family members. They view this issue as personal and concerns their looks and self-esteem. A few male doctors recommend the process: however, the outcomes may be, stating that the effects are for building up the self-confidence of a woman. In fact, some men view this as a broad step and a valid method of dealing with a prevalent problem concerning the body. However, there were also some men who viewed plastic surgery as disgusting and superficial and received negative scores on their comments because of their opinion. Therefore, women should stick to their own opinions on their decision to undergo the process plastic surgery or not and not be influenced by men. Personal decisions with regard to ones physical depends on one choosing what they perceive as the best for themselves. Considering external perceptions about oneself may mislead one to believe that they can impress everybody at the same: it is impossible. Thus, one should be concerned about impressing and achieving personal state of comfortability as it the only reliable of boosting ones confidence.

Screenshot 1:

In this screenshot, men state that it would be nice to raise the self-esteem and rid of issues causing suffering on a womans body. For example, a woman who has reached the menopause age would feel good after undergoing a breast argumentation. Such a desire make these women feel younger and ready to get back to their normal lives and wear what best pleases them. However, there is evidence of toxic masculinity from men who think that women should remain comfortable in their situation except in circumstances where is necessary for medical reasons. In the screenshot above, the man thinks that it is unnecessary to invest on personality, rather than appearance.

In the modern world, there is an increasing pressure resulting from the desire: especially in women, to look young attractive. In the modern social set ups such as workplaces and in public space women are subject to be judged on appearance. In addition, the modern media is full of makeover programs, glamourizing cosmetic surgeries, and perky looking celebrities who continuously contributing in the piling the pressure of looking to women. Besides, according to theory of private/public by Warner, the dynamic nature of the modern culture with regard to the human desire to look young and attractive makes most people believe that happiness and success is associated with conforming to the changing norms (WARNER, 2002). However, it can be deduced that women with the desire of appealing to men fall for this fallacy as proven statistically where 85% of people doing cosmetic surgery are women. One of the most misleading fallacy influencing womens expectation with regard public and private place is: women should always look attractive by doing cosmetic surgery.



Screenshot 2 and 3:

In the screenshot, the man claims that there are other means of looking good like adopting proper eating habits, adjusting one's lifestyle and continuous working out. However, this argument does not consider some natural features like a big nose, which cannot be altered by exercise.

In another case of an online dating site Tinder, men exercise a lot of toxic masculinity. They treat women in the most uncouth way. However, the site allows screenshots depicting the conversation of women who have been in the hands of these kinds of men with an aim of embarrassing them. Men using various means like use of the best pickup lines to lure women. Besides, this site depict mens perception on a womans body as an object for sexual gains, which portrays evidence of toxic masculinity (Hess and Flores, 2016). Women, in turn, are viewed to have only two primary responses: silence and witty responses. The silence is the best policy of fighting; showing that they are not afraid and they can handle the insensitive responses they get from men. This site has adversely contributed in promoting devaluation of women norm within the social space. Besides, the toxic masculinity theory advances that both men and women are adversely affected by masculine norms as they significantly contribute increasing cases of psychological problems in men like depression, substance abuse and body image problems amongst other extreme effects such as elevated rates of skin cancer.

Gender and culture go to the point of women and education. However, in other areas, women are believed to be less witty and get limited chances for education. According to Brickell, the children were taught the traditions of the society, and observed the ways of their elders while quiet and were not supposed to question a thing, (Bricknell, 2011). To be precise, the girls are expected to perfect their act of home care and to be prepared for their future lives with their husbands. However, women are focusing more on self-improvement and keeping their selves youthful and attractive. Opening up education chances for women necessitates their access to finances, thereby working on their image to boost their self-esteem and appearance.

Screenshot 4: this screenshot, a woman explains how she was able to undergo surgery since she was allowed to earn from a young age, and not confined to expected daily duties of a woman. The story has attracted a wide range of comments from the sites users: with some approving the act and others expressing their dissatisfaction on individuals that engage in such acts for whatever reasons. According the theory of public/private advanced by Warner, there are many aspects that may force one to undergo such surgery such as medicinal reasons but the desire to look young and attractive has contributed in such decisions. For instance, the woman on this screenshot clearly gives money: being more appealing, as the main reason that influenced her decision. Besides, she boasts of the benefits associated with the surgery: avoid daily duties confined to a woman.

Hegemonic Masculinity

As seen earlier in screenshot 2 and 3, men easily judge women and in the case of plastic surgery, suggest that it is improper. However, in the case of this screenshot, they quickly appreciate people who have done plastic surgery and appreciate their beauty and their well-toned bodies. This schreenshort depicts some possible perspectives associated with different individuals with respect to cosmetic surgery. Personal confidence can be genuinly boosted through ones self love. Accepting ones self in all aspects including physical appearance is one of the key apects as far as self love is concerned. However, people have the freedom of choosing means of boosting self confidence and happiness: and where one feels a cosmetic surgery will serve as the most appropriate means at their disposal, it is only fair to respect their decision.

Screenshot 5:

The gender roles across history give the man a dominant position and make the woman the subordinate. For example, the man is expected to get a job and feed his family while taking care of the bills, while the woman should be the homemaker. Such a pattern has been observed even in the school setting where the boys bully girls. Such also dominate in criminology. According to research, boys or men conducted most of the crimes. Consequently, it is common for a man to be suspected of a crime compared to a woman. There have been arguments on the problem of hegemonic masculinity concerning who represented it. Such has been argued concerning the problem of realness. This concept does not thoroughly describe the aspect of power. Based on Budgeon, the social theory has emerged as one of the major causes of gender asymmetrical responsible for masculinity and feminist (Budgeon, 2014). Hegemonic masculinity is deemed as the force responsible for the maintenance of masculinity and feminism. This concept explains power from the experiences of women rather than the structural design of women subordination.

However, this concept has changed over time. Women are becoming more independent and unwilling to be assisted by a man. Significantly, they have shifted from homemakers to working-class individuals.

In conclusion, the above discussed theories and scree shorts analyzed depict the dynamic nature of cultures and norms. The perspectives associated with the modern culture are as a result of a wide range of factors including online social spaces. It is evident that internet related social spaces have greatly influenced culture change and shaped public opinion with regard to aspects such as attractiveness. Besides, some websites have contributed in spreading socially-negative norms such as women devaluation associated with toxic masculinity (BREINES, 2000). According to the above analysis most women are depicted in various situations focusing on impressing men. This has challenged and forced the men to concentrate on developing various means of luring women like the use of impressing pick-up lines. However, some of the sites discussed above depict vagueness in most of the views from the men in this modern world. Besides, the women have discovered there is life full of fun for a woman rather than the traditional cultural expectations of getting married and taking care of their husbands, which has influences their decision making and the perspective of happiness and self-confidence. It is evident that the modern woman perceives looking young and attractive as one of the key boosters of self-confidence and happiness, which implies they have not attained total freedom.

Reference List

WARNER, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. New York, Zone Books. Pp 31

Brickell, K., 2011. We dont forget the old rice pot when we get the new one: Discourses on Ideals and Practices of Women in Contemporary Cambodia. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 36(2), pp.437-462.

Budgeon, S., 2014. The dynamics of gender hegemony: Femininities, masculinities and social change. Sociology, 48(2), pp.317-334.

Connell, R.W. and Messerschmidt, J.W., 2013. Hegemonic masculinity: rethinking the concept. Rethinking the concepts, 21(1), pp.241-282.

Hess, A. and Flores, C. 2016. Simply more than swiping left: A critical analysis of toxic masculine performances on Tinder Nightmares. New media & society, p.146...

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