masculinity


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masculinity

the characteristics associated with the male sex. The historical study of masculinity documents ‘manliness’ as a code of conduct, heroism, strength, emphasis upon the public nature of man as natural, and monolithic dimensions of masculinity relating to objectivity, reason and CIVILIZING PROCESSES. Since the late 1970s masculinity has been studied in relation to continuity and change in its perceived forms and in relation to gender relations and sexual politics (Roper and Tosh, 1991; Brittan, 1989). The growing men's movement is giving voice to some of the differences and similarities between men in reflecting upon and defining interrelationships between men, masculinities, the women's movement and society (Seidler, 1991).

Of great importance to these debates is the interface with FEMINISM and the women's movement and the focus upon PATRIARCHY, power, male violence and oppression (Samuels, 1993). Samuels points out that since the early 1980s there has been an explosion of books on men's issues. In his examination of the men's movement he notes four overlapping dimensions: the experiential, the sociopolitical, the mythopoetic and the gay men's movements. The experiential is therapeutic in style, offering a chance to feel, cry, hug and confess. The sociopolitical is founded upon the notion that men should learn from feminism and work towards cooperative and non-hierarchical ways of achieving equality. There has been an increasing emphasis upon gender relations, power and sexual politics, most notably in the work of Robert Connell (1987). The mythopoetic movement is led by Robert Bly whose book Iron John (1990) uses a Grimm's fairy tale to develop the thesis that men need to regain contact with their spiritual, primal, Dionysian, ‘hairy’ selves. Men can be tough, decisive and gentle. In relation to the gay men's movement, Samuels points out that HOMOSEXUALITY is a recent category, that a thriving gay community undermines a social system that deploys HETEROSEXUALITY to maintain the control of women and that there are links to be made between the gay community and the sociopolitical dimensions to the men's movement(s). Hearn (1990; 1992), located within the sociopolitical movement and a leading theorist on masculinities and their relation to feminism and male violence, states that the category of men through ‘absence, avoidance, ambivalence and alterity’ becomes a taken-for-granted presence and central to the reproduction of dominant malestream ideologies and social practices. Men are the ‘one’ to women's ‘other’(de BEAUVOIR, 1953). For Hearn, more careful work needs to be done on the interrelation of men's agency, subjectivity and practice and its relationship to men's structural power in reproducing that power and in potentially abolishing it.

References in periodicals archive ?
Raewyn: Because at the time, there was a whole genre of books about masculinity, like Robert Bly's book Iron John (6), that claimed men were suffering from a crisis of masculinity and needed to recover 'true masculinity.
Afro-Brazilian men face particular challenges in view of this cultural construction of gender, given that hegemonic masculinity in brazil is additionally constructed along racial lines as white.
Consider the near universal adoption of pubic hair removal in our post-porn era, even though such hair was once considered essential to masculinity.
Even though thirty years have passed since Radway's (1984/1991) Reading the Romance, it must be admitted that the romance novel is still, by and large, committed to "spectacular masculinity.
In the same way that we find that, when Asian-Americans' identity as Americans is questioned, they reassert it by displaying local cultural knowledge and choosing typical American food, men whose masculinity is questioned react by exaggerating characteristics they associate with masculinity and downplaying feminine ones.
But some of the most hurtful jabs to masculinity come from some women themselves.
The first, "Performing Masculinity," features chapters on Adam Sandler, Sean Penn's performance in Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008), and climactic scenes of gender performance in "cop action" films.
In the United States of America, a country where baseball, John Wayne, and General Patton are cultural icons, and where a steady stream of presidents use their military experience to become commander in chief, research has explored the relationship between masculinity and politics.
Basso, in Meet Joe Copper, argues that the masculinity of home front men was threatened during World War II, when soldiering took precedence over breadwinning as the ideal masculine trait.
Keywords: adolescent men, masculinity, anorexia nervosa, construction of subjectivity
Although there is an abundance of scholarship about social constructions of contemporary masculinity within Australia (e.
Connell's Masculinities: The Science of Masculinity (1995), which insists on the concept of multiple masculinities, this interdisciplinary collection investigates masculinities in India, focusing on social, cultural, and historical constructions of masculinities.