Hegemonic Masculinity


Masculinity defined by the concept of gender, refers to characteristics that have the ability to give identity to males. These identifiable features such as; the way in which males sit, their body movements and tone of voice have for centuries been accepted by society as biological and intangible. Concepts of masculinity; also served the purpose of ensuring the separation of the sexes, which maintained a social system of hierarchy, according to feminist theory.
Ideological concepts of manhood has experienced variations in its meaning according to, Michael S. Kimmel; “Masculinity as Homophobia; Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity”. During the “1800’s” and early “1900’s” masculinity was defined by the concept of “The Genteel Patriarch”; the identifiable characteristics of manhood for this rural resident was publicized by his ability to become a landowner. This type of male was the devoted father and husband, capable of supervising his estate and displayed a casual sensuousness.
Over time the Genteel Patriarch evolved into the “Heroic Artisans”, who displayed physical strength. Here we have the urban craftsman, this form of masculinity developed the idea of apprenticeship which, allowed sons the opportunity to establish and maintain not only the family craft but, provided a progressive arena for the development of their manhood.
By the “1930’s” the development of capitalism produced the “scientific method of work” which eliminated the artisan and forced this group to become wage earners. Emerging from the new capitalist system was the “Marketplace Manhood”, masculinity derived from his ability to gain high social status, power and wealth. This period also was responsible for a social system controlled by marketplace masculinity that provided an appearance of freedom and equality but, ensured inequalities for women and other ethnic groups.
American masculinity which was created by the “dominate culture” was based also on, aggression and competition thus creating the image of “Hegemonic Masculinity”, which took on the appearance of the; college educated man, who was a sportsman, hardworking and the good family man, where the ability to provide was always available. This becsme the standard definition of manhood, Psychologist Robert Brannon provided four characteristics that defined real manhood. 1). “No sissy stuff” 2). “Be a Big Wheel 3). “Be a Sturdy Oak” 4). “Given ’em Hell”.
Given that this image and definition of real manhood was deprived from idea of gender and social class based on perspective of a “dominate culture” it provided an avenue to develop the idea of the “Other”. These “Others” according to ideologies suffered forms of psychological character deficiency, which explained the individual’s inability to reach the ideal standard of “real manhood”.

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