Studs, Tools and the Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By

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Looking at the sexual metaphors that are so pervasive in American culture, such as: jock ; tool ; shooting blanks ; and gang bang , this work argues that men are trapped and damaged by language that constantly intertwines sexuality and friendship with images of war, machinery, sports and work. The author contends that the metaphors that men live by reinforce the view that relationships are tactical encounters that must be won, because the alternative is the loss of manhood. The macho language with which men cover their own fear of weakness is a way of bonding with other men. The implicit or explicit attacks on women and gay men that underlie this language translate, in their most extreme forms, into actual violence. Murphy also believes that awareness of these metaphorical power plays is the basis for behavioural change, How we talk about ourselves as men can alter the way we live as men .