Hypermasculinity As A Social Norm

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Introduction:

Hypermasculinity is defined as the “exaggeration of traditionally masculine traits or behaviour” (Collins English Dictionary n.d.), and is an extremely prevalent social norm across varying countries and cultures. Its exact definition varies in different historical and cultural contexts, but it is largely characterised as a strong societal pressure upon men to adhere to highly unrealistic expectations of “manliness”, such as tangible physical strength, constant participation in conventionally “manly” interests and a rejection of any feminine traits. What distinguishes hypermasculinity as a social norm from mere masculinity as a character trait is that hypermasculinity is founded upon the warped belief that a true man cannot resemble a woman in any way or form – having any traits that are “even remotely feminine strips [one] entirely of [their] masculinity.” (Michael 2016). In order for men to live up to hypermasculine standards, they must completely reject conventionally feminine parts of themselves such as kindness, compassion and tenderness. Although this social norm has taken on different meanings throughout the evolution of mankind, its dire consequences arising from its pervasive influence remain largely the same. The strict dichotomy between male and feminine traits that characterise hypermasculinity then lead to extreme actions that are undertaken in order to live up to perceived societal
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This research paper will thus track the progression of hypermasculinity as a social norm and how it is upheld in different societies, its drivers and impediments, and suggestions for change in order to lessen its
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