2.2 Masculinity concepts: Between Binaries and hegemonic masculinity After establishing the existence of a social identity that forms the self, I know want to address an additional element of identity formation: masculinity, and thus gender relations. The last years have seen various discussions about a so-called ‘crisis in masculinity’ . The rise of feminism, after-war generations of men raised by women and civil rights movements like the Gay Liberation movement are seen as a threat to masculinity. Suddenly, white, middle-class, heterosexual males were compelled to examine their own privilege and question their identities. The feeling of a crisis existing is thus a reaction of anxiety and panic to cultural change.
Masculinity has been classified differently depending upon the approach of the researcher. Joanna Bourke outlines the five ways masculinity can be conceptualized, including biological, whereby masculinity is a product of the biological makeup of men; socialization, where masculinity is a result of the “proper” socialization of men; psychoanalytical, whereby differing masculinities are formed as a result of varying socio-historical and cultural environments; discourse, where masculinity is an outcome of discourses; and feminism, where patriarchy not only restricts men but also reinforces the oppression of women. There are multiple versions of masculinity within any ‘one’ social context. Robert Morrell explains, “Boys and men choose how to behave and this choice is made from a number of available repertoires. Such choices are never entirely free, because the available repertoires differ from context to context and because the resources from which masculinity is constructed are unevenly distributed.” Thus, men in
Hegemonic masculinity usually consists of practices and attitudes which maintain heterosexual male domination over and the subordination of women (Weitzer and Kubrin 5). It represents a cultural idealized form of breadwinning and manhood and can be a personal as well as a collective undertaking. Moreover, hegemonic masculinity is “exclusive, anxiety-provoking, internally and hierarchically differentiated, brutal, and violent. It is pseudo-natural, tough, contradictory, crisis- prone, rich, and socially sustained” (Donaldson 645). Based on male dominance, it resembles “an economic and cultural force, and [is] dependent on social arrangements.” (645).
Sexual dimorphism, according to Preciado, is the regulation of masculine and feminine sex assignment constructed on visual criteria of reproductive genitals (102). Because intersex infants have criteria of both masculine and feminine genitals, Money stressed the importance of sex reassignment surgery so that the infants can be reared in compliance with a sexual dimorphic society. He claimed that infants have malleable gender, which can be shaped by extrinsic social cues and a gender-specific upbringing. His “seemingly solid” theory of gender plasticity is advertised as “a relatively simple surgical solution to one of the most vexing and emotionally fraught conundrums in medicine: how to deal with the birth of an intersexual child” (Colapinto Chapter 2). Colapinto’s diction indicates how clinical applications of sexology during the 1960s were not evaluated for their effectiveness and validity, but rather for their endorsement of a dimorphic understanding of sex.
During the premodern period in Europe, it was largely accepted that the Catholic Church had ultimate authority. At that time, there was no real division between church and state. Instead, all matters were heavily intertwined. However, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, and Rene Descartes questioned the authority of the church and lead many people to consider that the church might not be the only authoritative figure to rely on. These men presented ideas that characterized a shift in authority that also is known as the shift from the premodern period to modernity.
In the excerpt titled "X: A Fabulous Child’s Story," Lois Gould describes this very important Secret Scientific Xperiment, also known as Project Baby X. In this reading, the social construction of gender is society assigning a gender identity correlated with their genitalia. Nobody could identify Baby X and so they didn’t know how to treat it. Baby X was raised very equally and he excelled in school activities. X did a variety of extracurricular activities for school meant for males and females, rather than one particular activity that is typically assigned for one gender.
In the article, “Boys vs. Girls: Who’s Harder to Raise”, on Parenting.com, by Paula Spencer, the author looks at differences in gender in specific categories, in determining who is more difficult to raise. The author makes generalizations about boys and girls behavior based on her own personal experiences and challenges of raising boys and girls. She focuses specifically on differences in discipline, physical safety, communication, self-esteem and schooling. For each category, she states which gender is harder to raise.
Boyhood in 'Little Women ' and 'Treasure Island ' It is impossible to deal fully with boyhood as a fixed state of childhood without keeping in mind its historical or its cultural setting. Throughout history and across cultures, boyhood has been changing in order to adapt and fit in the changing society. Undoubtedly, it is closely related to ideas about masculinity since masculinity is what a boy is expected to become. It is also commonly associated with the idea of manhood, as the relationship between boyhood and adulthood is a chronological relationship, which means; one has to come after another. The idea of boyhood has been tackled in different places throughout centuries.
The concept of hegemonic masculinity was influenced by the sex role theory and psychoanalysis. It is stated that the masculinities discussed by the theory of sex-role need to be regarded as hegemonic masculinity that may not be the usual type of masculinity (Connell, 1990). According to a definition provided by Connell and Messerschmidt (2005), hegemonic masculinity refers to a normative type of masculinity enacted by a part of men. “It embodied currently the most honored way of being a man (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005)”. Besides, the concept of hegemonic masculinity is highly related to power and class.
What we today see as genders is the norms that follow when born as a girl or as a boy. What is being connected to male norms of masculinity is strength, aggression and dominance, while woman more often than not follow norms such as passivity, nurturing and subordination. We have come to realise in recent years that your gender and your sex is not the same thing. The fact that there is not only two genders but a lot more is also something that has been discovered. Transgender is those who is born as one gender, but identifies as another.