Gender, Men and Masculinities

“Role Theory” is a theory of society based on the power of custom and social conformity. This theory can hold true for both the male characters in “Retrenched” and “The Way of the Machete.”

Both of the male characters feel as though they are very entitled and like they need to be in control due to their genders. For example, in Retrenched when the male character loses his job, he begins to just spiral out of control. He goes out and starts gambling, spending money, being secretive and never truly tells his wife the truth. This is because he needs to feel like he is in control. The man is supposed to be the one who is able to provide for the family and now that he is in no position to do so, he feels like he has nothing and cannot offer anything. This is why he lies to his family and starts to be sneaky.

The same holds true for “The Way of the Machete,” when challenged to a duel the male lead feels as though he cannot back down. Men are supposed to be brave and “macho” and he doesn’t want the other people of the village to think that he is afraid of a duel. Although his wife does tell him that she doesn’t think it is a good idea, he doesn’t listen because than man is supposed to be in charge and he doesn’t have to listen to his wife.

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