hegemonic masculinity

Topics: Gender, Masculinity, Gender role Pages: 5 (1694 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Hegemonic masculinity refers to the culturally normative ideal behaviours of males. This concept is based on the assumption that there is a hierarchy of masculine behaviour, suggesting that most societies encourage men to exemplify a dominant version of masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is competitive and reflects an inclination for males to pursue domination over other males and subordinate females. Contrary to feminism, anti-femininity demonstrates a male’s strong aversion and fear of being attributed to feminine characteristics. Men's identity strategies are established through their complicit or resistant stance to prescribed dominant masculine styles. Masculine characters are not given. Rather, a range of possible styles and personae emerge from the gender regimes found in different cultures and periods of time. It is undeniable that the definition of a man is the same today as it was a decade ago. Among the possible ways of being masculine, some become winning style and it is this with which men must engage. This manufactured image of the male projected the appearance of an educated man, the talented athlete, hardworking good family man, with the ability to always provide. This has become the standard definition of manhood. The workplace became the arena that allowed manhood to be tested and, proving to other males. It provided the space for which men could prove opposite characteristic of women, although women were one of many vehicles available to males for the purpose of exhibiting levels of success. Through the gender identity model, demonstrated by Christopher T. Kilmartin, this paper will view the different dimensions of male and female gender roles. Moreover, through the work of Ann Ferguson, the crucial interpretation of gender performance and transgressive acts will be fundamental in identifying how hegemonic masculinity is identified as anti-femininity. In all societies the obvious biological difference between men and women is used as a justification for forcing them into different social roles which limit and shape their attitudes and behavior. That is to say, no society is content with the natural difference of sex, but each insists on adding to it a cultural difference of gender. The simple physical facts therefore always become associated with complex psychological qualities. It is not enough for a man to be male; he also has to appear masculine. A woman, in addition to being female, must also be feminine. However, once the contrast between men and women has been increased and accentuated in this fashion, it is usually taken as a further manifestation of biological differences, which confirm the need for different social roles. Thus, from an early age, boys are helped to acquire a masculinity that allows them to assume and maintain that position. By the same token, girls are taught to cultivate a submissive femininity. The resulting difference in the male and female character is then described as inborn and used to defend the existing power arrangement. Only those who accept it are normal, and only they can expect to succeed. The male social role is designed to reward masculine men, while the female social role offers its relative advantages only to feminine women. Gender identity is ultimately derived from both chromosomal makeup and physical appearance, but this does not mean that psychosocial influences are missing. Socialization, or the process whereby a child learns the norms and roles that society has created for his or her gender, plays a significant role in the establishment of her or his sense of femaleness or maleness. If a child learns she is a female and is raised as a female, the child believes she is female; if told he is a male and raised as a male, the child believes he is male. Beginning at birth, most parents treat their children according to the child's gender as determined by the appearance of their genitals. Parents even handle their baby girls less aggressively than their baby...

Cited: Ferguson, Ann, Making a Name for yourself: Transgressive Acts and Gender Performance, In Michael S. Kimmel and Michael A. Messner Eds., Men’s Lives Edition 09, Pearson, 2013, pp. 80-92.
Kilmartin, C. The Masculine Self. 2nd. USA: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2000. Print.
Pascoe, C.J., «Guys are just homophobic» Rethinking Adolescent Homophobia and Heterosexuality, In Michael S. Kimmel and Michael A. Messner Eds., Men’s Lives Edition 09, Pearson, 2013, pp. 73-79.
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