- Each player represents the stereotypical American man – white, middle class with a nuclear family and a job as they progress through the game.
- Players take turn rolling the di, moving their pawn (basketball, tie, or some other figure that reflects masculine values) to the corresponding number they rolled.
- The player will land on either “work,” “family,” “leisure,” or “health”
- The player will then draw a card depending on which space they land on and determine their point value based on what the card reads (card will depict a scenario in which their character satisfies or falls short of male expectations in society in relation to the category)
- Players continue taking turns until they reach the end of the board, and whoever has the highest point value achieves the most “masculinity”
Since it would be inefficient to take pictures of all the scenarios written on the cards, I have listed some of them here:
Work: Promoted to CEO, +500pts
Work: Assigned to secretary position, -300 points
Home: came home to dinner already prepared for by wife, +400 points
Home: Had to help change daughter’s diaper, -200 points
Leisure: Went to the bar with friends to watch football, +300 points
Leisure: Missed golfing trip to take care of sick son, -400 points
Health: Benched an extra 50lbs today, +500 points
Health: Finished behind sister in a road race, -400 points
Since enrolling in the class, I had been so interested in the topics that I would almost always discuss what I was learning with my friends and coworkers. However, my male coworkers would bring up valid points about how men too face a different type of oppression because of society’s expectations for them. Whereas women can now express more masculine characteristics, such as playing sports or occupying leadership roles, men are still being judged for inhabiting female traits and roles (such as being a nurse). As a result, men passively support male domination even if they are uncomfortable with it (Hooks, 2000). Whether we realize it or not, patriarchy can harm men too by imposing a sexist masculine identity. Although I know that women would be grateful for their husbands picking up some of the housework, male peers may view this as a source of softness or womanliness. Consequently, men pursue this idea of “hypermasculinity” (2013), where they seek toughness, danger, attaining numerous women and sometimes violence.
As we examine history, we can being to understand the root of why men and women play these roles and why they are expected to carry out certain characteristics. One feminist perspective attributes this phenomenon to the American Dream and how gender is socially constructed. They believe that the nuclear family teaches young boys that girls are inferior and thus men must take more control of the family and relationship (2014). Control could include a multitude of things, such as being the breadwinner (control over finances), making decisions on behalf of the entire family, etc. Fortunately, our culture has progressed to where more women are becoming breadwinners and more men are taking on more feminine positions and tasks. I really enjoyed reading about nontraditional family structures as our society strays further from the American Dream structure that dominated the goals and desires of many people. One example in my life would be the reaction my friend receives when she reveals that she has a stay at home dad while her mom goes off to work. The shock and sometimes negative responses can elicit the idea that it is unnatural for men to be at home taking care of her brothers and sisters while her mother is working long hours for the government. If we modify our language and use language that “avoids perceived certainties” (Devora, 2014), then maybe men and women would feel more comfortable and proud to be embracing the opposite gender’s traditional tasks.
In conclusion, I hope that this board game can be somewhat representative of the struggles and realities that men face in our culture. My intentions were for players to realize how frustrating it is for men to feel bound by tasks that are sometimes “socially unacceptable” through the loss of points. Feminism is not just about liberating women from oppression, but liberating men from society’s masculine expectations.
Devora, Shoshana. 2014. “3 Ways to Talk about Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately.” http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/05/talk-about-nontraditional-family/
hooks, bell. 2000. Feminism is for Everybody. Cambridge: South End Press. (Selections)
The Huffington Post. 2013. “Be A Man: Macho Advertising Promotes Hyper-Masculine Behavior, Study Finds.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/be-a-man-macho-hypermasculine-advertising_n_3230402.html
ReviseSociology. 2014. “Perspectives on the Family.” https://revisesociology.com/2014/02/10/feminist-perspectives-on-the-family/