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John Fleiner
English 250 PG
Lindsay DAndrea
2 May 2014
The Guy Code: A Disconnection to Emotions
Michael Kimmel, an American sociologist who specializes in gender studies, is
predominately known for his research and publications on men and masculinity. He is the
founding editor of the scholarly journal Men and Masculinities and is a spokesperson for the
National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS). Young men in todays society
represent a distinct social group, one with unspoken rules/standards that define what it means to
be a man. In the selection Bros Before Hos from his best-selling book Guyland: The Perilous
World Where Boys Become Men, Kimmel describes the code of masculinity that guys are
expected to follow. He argues that this Guy Code disconnects men from their true inner
emotions, resulting in adolescent behavioral problems. Through his use of classification,
exemplification and pathos, cause and effect analysis, and narration, Kimmel affectively disputes
how masculinity shapes the self-image of men to conform to societys standards, but undermines
a standard base for women femininity that discredits his arguments true potential.
The prologue of the excerpt notes that Kimmel has served for the U.S Department of
Justice in two significant sex discrimination cases against military academies for the exclusion of
women, an inference to the advocacy of womens rights. This is a key addition to the article as
the selection begins with a method of compare and contrast between the standard base of men
and women that could be perceived as anecdotal not necessarily true or reliable towards
female readers. Kimmel asked females the question what does it mean to be a woman? and
asked males the question what does it mean to be a man? The personal accounts of females
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were presented in an assumption that Nobody can tell me what it means to be a woman
anymore (462). In contrast, the large variety of male responses could be summarized in a list of
phrases pertaining to what it means to be a man. The quote for men, the question is still
meaningful and powerful discounts a standard base for women femininity (462). It implies
that the intended audience is aimed towards those interested in the study of masculinity, chiefly
young males in the stages of adolescence. Kimmels compare and contrast methodology
appropriately emphasizes the importance of masculine behavior in male society, but undermines
the meaning of femininity.
The empowering masculinity that now encompasses male society has defined a unique
code imperceptible to women femininity often referred to as the Guy Code. The Guy Code
makes up a complex set of subconscious rules, uniformly known by men. To explain his
understanding of the Guy Code, Kimmel utilizes the method of classification to categorize the
metaphysical characteristics and qualities generally associated with men. By expressing these
subliminal rules in the form of an aphorism common expressions that contain a general truth
they can be summarized in a simplistic list of rules that appeal to the readers sense of
understanding. The Guys Top Ten List and social psychologist Robert Brannons Four basic
rules of masculinity do just that by coherently summarizing the most common aphorisms used
to evaluate a mans masculine behavior (463-464). For example, the subconscious aphorism
Boys Dont Cry coherently simplifies the unifying emotional subtext of concealing ones
emotions, moods, and weaknesses that may be difficult to fathom in a varying context. (464).
Appealing to the readers sense of understanding permits further identification to how little the
rules of masculinity have change among successive generations of male adolescence, inferring
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Kimmels objective to highlight the importance of the subconscious standards that govern male
Because the rules evaluating masculine behavior have changed very little over time, it is
ideal for Kimmel to classify the origin of such subconscious rules. Through the use of
exemplification and pathos, Kimmel explains the historical development of the Guy Code.
Since the Guy Code is made entirely of the male subconscious, the use of pathos a means of
appealing to the readers emotional response appropriately connects with the intended
audience. Providing examples of personal experiences relays back to the idea of subliminal
development: Where do young men get these ideas of masculinity? Guys hear the voices of the
men in their lives fathers, coaches, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, priests to inform their ideas
of masculinity, all personal accounts of standards imbedded into their minds from generations
of male role models in their life (465). It can be assumed that the male reader will relate to a
similar experience in his life because the masculine standards are universally known by most
men. The relation between the reader and the origin of the Guy Code strengthens Kimmels
objective, masculinity is largely a homosocial experience: performed for, and judged by, other
men (465). The origination develops in an attempt to being a man among men, avoiding the
allegation of gay.
It is undeniably true that males alter their behavior around other men in an effort to
prevent coming off as gay. To further emphasize his argument that masculinity is a largely
homosocial experience, Kimmel analyzes the male fear of homophobia and its effecting result to
conform to the social norm through the process of cause and effect analysis. In his subsection
titled The Gender Police, Kimmel centers his argument on a quote from Eminem aka Slim
Shady, a prominent masculine figure in the eyes of men. Focusing on the basis of Eminems
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philosophical view of homophobia creates a perceptive that most men will refuse to disagree
with; the lowest degrading thing you can say to a manis to all him a faggot and try to take
away his manhood (466). This stance supports mens fear of homophobia that, if accused, men
face a humiliating feeling that may lead to disturbing effects/consequences while advocating his
point. The resulting magnitudes of homophobia associated with masculinity relay to the effect of
the method at hand; the Guy Code creates emotional limitations that affect ones behavior.
Despite the strong emotional restraint among men in response to the male fear of
homophobia, a closely tied relationship with ones mother poses a comparable threat of
emotional trauma. In one last attempt to emotionally connect with the reader, the narration
technique is used to influence the reader to identify with Kimmel on a personal account of how a
boys strong interpersonal relation with his mother will emasculate him. He seeks definitive
agreement upon the emotional trauma caused by mens fear of becoming emasculated. The story
of the barber and the wimp serves as an allegorical narrative, a form in which the actions of the
character contain meanings about human life that constructs a deeper connection with the
audience. Because most men learn at a young age to move away from their mothers upbringing
to avoid the connotation of being marked as a mommas boy, it can be assumed that the
intended male audience will relate on some personal level with the allegorical meaning between
the development of the Guy Code and the suppression of nurturing feelings that disconnects
them from their true inner emotions. The emotional appeal and insightful link to male audience
members reinforces Kimmels argument; the Guy Code of masculinity prohibits men from
expressing feelings with one another and causes emotional trauma that result in adolescent
behavioral problems.
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Through the employment of the many different rhetorical strategies, Kimmel accentuated
the importance of the role of masculinity within the social norm of men. He effectively asserts
that men face a continual pressure to comply with the standards of the Guy Code, a pressure
that adversely causes out-of-touch behaviors and emotional separation. It is disconcerting
however, to note that Kimmel limited the audience towards young men by discounting a similar
standard base for women. Although female expectations are complicated, it seems controversial
to overlook a code of femininity by anecdotally comparing genders. By disregarding the
qualities associated with women, Kimmels selection fundamentally focused on what it means to
be a guy, accomplishing his purpose.

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Assignment #3 Textual Analysis Rubric
English 250

Good Fair Needs
Purpose, position,
-- Effective introduction
-- Clear, specific thesis
-- Introduction previews main
points + context

Scope, depth,
relevance, fairness
-- Essay focus on 2 or 3
rhetorical strategies used by
the writer
-- Concrete evidence and
specific examples used
-- Details are relevant to
audience and purpose

Focus, structure,
-- Paragraphs support the
thesis statement and follow a
logical structure beyond
listed points
-- Strong transitions link ideas
at the sentence and paragraph

-- Effective word choice,
sentence variety
-- Correct conventions and
-- Formal writing.
-- No second person.

DELIVERY -- Innovative title, possible
subheadings, MLA-appropriate

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font, spacing, page count etc.