What does an author mean when they use the term "cultural imperative"? For example, I'm analyzing an essay in which the author says, "...the need for a comprehensive, curricular interrogation of the contours of masculinity; the way girls find themselves drawn to more "traditional" displays of masculinity because they are more unsure than ever about how to experience their own femininity; and the many hours...I would have to devote to ensuring that my son's true self would not be entirely snuffed out by the cultural imperative."

Expert Answers

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This is a great question. I wish there was a bit more in terms of context (the first sentence starts in the middle), but from the words that you give, a few points can be made.

First, the author is stating that there is confusion among girls of how to act. Hence, girls are drawn to more  "traditional"  displays of masculinity on account of uncertainty of their own gender identity.

Second, the author, then, talk about his or her son and how there might be confusion as well.

Finally, here is the crux of the matter. The author states that there is a need to critique and reform culture, because culture blurs what it means to be a boy or girl. The cultural imperative is what the culture imposes on people are common sense and accepted. This is the assumption that the authors wants to call into question

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