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Steve Rodgers is an interesting exercise in contrasts.
By any stretch of the imagination, Rogers is someone who benefits from the traditional ideas of masculinity.
It often ties into a belief that previous generations had it right and that ours has lost its way, as well as providing comfortable, distinct sign posts and guides for behavior.
Ironically enough, however, this man from the past is a beacon for being a man For a man born in the 20s and raised in the 30s, Rogers is actually an excellent example of what non-toxic masculinity in the modern day.
As a matter of fact, it’s an area where, in the terms of traditional, toxic masculinity, Steve falls far short of true manliness. Of course, it seems a little ridiculous that Captain fucking America couldn’t get a date, no? Even back when he was Skinny Steve, he didn’t define himself by his lack of luck with the ladies.
It was just a fact, like being blonde or living in Brooklyn.
And that responsibility is to help those who can’t help themselves, not to prove how butch he is by pounding some dude’s face into goo. Once by Private Lorraine, once by Peggy Carter and once by Natasha Romanova. I mean, are you seriously going to look at someone who can quite literally command a and say that because he’s never entered the holiest of holies (or ridden the baloney pony, for that matter) he’s less of a man for it? It doesn’t mean that he’s any less of a man because you can count the number of girlfriend’s he’s had on the fingers of one foot because it’s not a measure of his worth…
But it’s not Steve’s restraint or resistance to violence that makes him an example of positive masculinity. In fact, we know how much sexual experience Steve’s had. It’s almost as though his sexual experience has absolutely nothing to do with his masculinity… and that’s something that’s been part of his personality since the beginning.
It’s a surprisingly common trope in fiction – using a character from the past to comment on the cultural and social mores of the present.
In the midst of an alien-fucking-invasion, his first instinct is to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable people around him. But his strength isn’t the strength of his muscles, it’s the strength of his soul and his core.
He was given that power and like a certain web-head, he understands that with great power comes great responsibility. And yet, nobody would question Cap’s status as a man, no?
But rather than becoming a ball of resentment or looking for a magic fix that would let him become an “alpha” like his best friend Bucky, he simply kept trying to move forward. You could knock him down, but he’d get right back up again because someone had to stand up to bullies and he was gonna be that someone.
His greatest strengths were his moral core and the optimism that he’d make it through eventually, no matter how much work it’d take. Would standing up to a bully end with his getting a muddy hole stomped into his spine? Would the military not take him because he was 90 lbs sopping wet? not because he’s trying to be a badass but because he wants to help people who can’t help themselves.