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There is some evidence of masculinities undergoing shifts in the contemporary social landscape. Characteristic of present-day masculinity is men's willingness to counter stereotypes. Regardless of age or nationality, men more frequently rank good health, a harmonious family life and a good relationship with their spouse or partner as important to their quality of life. In many cultures, displaying characteristics not typical of one's gender may be a social problem.

In sociology , this labeling is known as gender assumptions and is part of socialization to meet the mores of a society. Non-standard behavior may be considered indicative of homosexuality , despite the fact that gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation are widely accepted as distinct concepts. The relative importance of socialization and genetics in the development of masculinity is debated. Although social conditioning is believed to play a role, psychologists and psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung believed that aspects of "feminine" and "masculine" identity are subconsciously present in all human males.

The historical development of gender roles is addressed by behavioural genetics , evolutionary psychology , human ecology , anthropology and sociology. All human cultures seem to encourage gender roles in literature, costume and song; examples may include the epics of Homer , the Hengist and Horsa tales and the normative commentaries of Confucius. The sources of gender identity are debated. Some believe that masculinity is linked to the male body; in this view, masculinity is associated with male genitalia. Proponents of this view argue that women can become men hormonally and physically , [10]: Although the military has a vested interest in constructing and promoting a specific form of masculinity, it does not create it.

In contrast to earlier perspectives of the nature versus nurture debate, contemporary social scientists suggest masculinity to stem from both nature and nurture, as both biological predispositions and social factors intersect to give rise to masculine gender identities.

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Social scientists conceptualize masculinity and femininity as a performance. The social construction of gender also conceptualizes gender as a continuum.

Theorists suggest one is not simply masculine or feminine, but instead may display components of both masculinity and femininity to different degrees and in particular contexts. Masculine performance varies over the life course, but also from one context to another. For instance, the sports world may elicit more traditionally normative masculinities in participants than would other settings. Masculinities vary by social class as well. Studies suggest working class constructions of masculinity to be more normative than are those from middle class men and boys.

Traditional avenues for men to gain honor were providing for their families and exercising leadership. From this perspective, in every social system there is a dominant hegemonic and idealised form of masculinity and an apotheosised form of femininity that is considered as proper for men and women. This idealised form of masculinity hegemonic masculinity legitimates and normalises certain performances of men, and pathologises, marginalises, and subordinates any other expressions of masculinities or femininities masculine and feminine subject positions.

Alongside hegemonic masculinity, Connell postulated that there are other forms of masculinities marginalised and subordinated , which according to the findings of a plethora of studies are constructed in oppressive ways Thorne This is symptomatic of the fact that hegemonic masculinity is relational, which means that it is constructed in relation to and against an Other emphasised femininity, marginalised and subordinated masculinities. Researchers have argued that the "precariousness" of manhood contributes to traditionally-masculine behavior.

In many cultures, boys endure painful initiation rituals to become men. Manhood may also be lost, as when a man is derided for not "being a man". Researchers have found that men respond to threats to their manhood by engaging in stereotypically-masculine behaviors and beliefs, such as supporting hierarchy, espousing homophobic beliefs, supporting aggression and choosing physical tasks over intellectual ones. In , Winegard and Geary wrote that the precariousness of manhood involves social status prestige or dominance , and manhood may be more or less precarious due to the avenues men have for achieving status.

However, men who identify with traditionally-masculine pursuits such as football or the military may see masculinity as precarious. According to Winegard, Winegard, and Geary, this is functional; poetry and painting do not require traditionally-masculine traits, and attacks on those traits should not induce anxiety. This suggests that nature-versus-nurture debates about masculinity may be simplistic.

Although men evolved to pursue prestige and dominance status , how they pursue status depends on their talents, traits and available possibilities. In modern societies, more avenues to status may exist than in traditional societies and this may mitigate the precariousness of manhood or of traditional manhood ; however, it will probably not mitigate the intensity of male-male competition.

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Although often ignored in discussions of masculinity, women can also express masculine traits and behaviors. Although female masculinity is often associated with lesbianism , expressing masculinity is not necessarily related to a woman's sexuality. In feminist philosophy , female masculinity is often characterized as a type of gender performance which challenges traditional masculinity and male dominance.

Kramer argues that the discussion of masculinity should be opened up "to include constructions of masculinity that uniquely affect women.


Women who participate in sports, especially male-dominated sports, are sometimes derided as being masculine. Even though most sports emphasize stereotypically masculine qualities, such as strength, competition, and aggression, women who participate in sports are still expected to conform to strictly feminine gender norms. Although traditional gender norms are gradually changing, female athletes, especially those that participate in male-dominated sports such as boxing, weight lifting, American football, ice hockey, and motor sports, are still often viewed as deviating from the boundaries of femininity and may suffer repercussions such as discrimination or mistreatment from administrators, harassment by fans, and decreased media attention.

Evidence points to the negative impact of hegemonic masculinity on men's health-related behavior, with American men making Twenty-five percent of men aged 45 to 60 do not have a personal physician, increasing their risk of death from heart disease. Men between 25 and 65 are four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than women, and are more likely to be diagnosed with a terminal illness because of their reluctance to see a doctor.

Reasons cited for not seeing a physician include fear, denial, embarrassment, a dislike of situations out of their control and the belief that visiting a doctor is not worth the time or cost. Studies of men in North America and Europe show that men who consume alcoholic drinks often do so in order to fulfill certain social expectations of manliness.

While the causes of drinking and alcoholism are complex and varied, gender roles and social expectations have a strong influence encouraging men to drink. In , Arran Stibbe published an analysis of a well-known men's-health magazine in According to Stibbe, although the magazine ostensibly focused on health it also promoted traditional masculine behaviors such as excessive consumption of convenience foods and meat, alcohol consumption and unsafe sex.

Research on beer-commercial content by Lance Strate [69] yielded results relevant to a study of masculinity. Commercials often focus on situations in which a man overcomes an obstacle in a group, working or playing hard construction or farm workers or cowboys.

Those involving play have central themes of mastery of nature or each other , risk and adventure: There is usually an element of danger and a focus on movement and speed watching fast cars or driving fast. The bar is a setting for the measurement of masculinity in skills such as billiards , strength, and drinking ability. Gay men are considered by some to "deviate from the masculine norm" and are benevolently stereotyped as "gentle and refined", even by other gay men. According to gay human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell:. Contrary to the well-intentioned claim that gays are "just the same" as straights, there is a difference.

What is more, the distinctive style of gay masculinity is of great social benefit. Wouldn't life be dull without the flair and imagination of queer fashion designers and interior decorators? How could the NHS cope with no gay nurses, or the education system with no gay teachers? Society should thank its lucky stars that not all men turn out straight, macho and insensitive. The different hetero and homo modes of maleness are not, of course, biologically fixed.

Psychologist Joseph Pleck argues that a hierarchy of masculinity exists largely as a dichotomy of homosexual and heterosexual males: In the documentary The Butch Factor , gay men one of them transgender were asked about their views of masculinity. Masculine traits were generally seen as an advantage in and out of the closet , allowing "butch" gay men to conceal their sexual orientation longer while engaged in masculine activities such as sports.

Masculinity - Wikipedia

Effeminacy is inaccurately [39] associated with homosexuality , [40] and some gay men doubted their sexual orientation; they did not see themselves as effeminate, and felt little connection to gay culture. Feminine-looking men tended to come out earlier after being labeled gay by their peers.

More likely to face bullying and harassment throughout their lives, [75] they are taunted by derogatory words such as " sissy " implying feminine qualities. Effeminate, " campy " gay men sometimes use what John R. Ballew called "camp humor", such as referring to one another by female pronouns according to Ballew, "a funny way of defusing hate directed toward us [gay men]" ; however, such humor "can cause us [gay men] to become confused in relation to how we feel about being men".

Identifying those aspects of being a man we most value and then cultivate those parts of our selves can lead to a healthier and less distorted sense of our own masculinity. A study by the Center for Theoretical Study at Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic found significant differences in shape among the faces of heterosexual and gay men, with gay men having more "stereotypically masculine" features "undermin[ing] stereotypical notions of gay men as more feminine looking. Gay men have been presented in the media as feminine and open to ridicule, although films such as Brokeback Mountain are countering the stereotype.

Second-wave pro-feminism paid greater attention to issues of sexuality, particularly the relationship between homosexual men and hegemonic masculinity. This shift led to increased cooperation between the men's liberation and gay liberation movements developing, in part, because masculinity was understood as a social construct and in response to the universalization of "men" in previous men's movements. Men's-rights activists worked to stop second-wave feminists from influencing the gay-rights movement, promoting hypermasculinity as inherent to gay sexuality. Masculinity has played an important role in lesbian culture, [84] although lesbians vary widely in the degree to which they express masculinity and femininity.

In LGBT cultures, masculine women are often referred to as " butch ". Two concerns over the study of the history of masculinity are that it would stabilize the historical process rather than change it and that a cultural overemphasis on the approach to masculinity lacks the reality of actual experience. According to John Tosh, masculinity has become a conceptual framework used by historians to enhance their cultural explorations instead of a specialty in its own right.

According to Tosh, the culture of masculinity has outlived its usefulness because it cannot fulfill the initial aim of this history to discover how manhood was conditioned and experienced and he urged "questions of behaviour and agency". Stefan Dudink believes that the methodological approach trying to categorize masculinity as a phenomenon undermined its historiographic development. The importance he places on public history hearkens back to the initial aims of gender history, which sought to use history to enlighten and change the present. Tosh appeals to historians to live up to the "social expectation" of their work, [88] which would also require a greater focus on subjectivity and masculinity.

In a study of the Low Countries , Dudink proposes moving beyond the history of masculinity by embedding analysis into the exploration of nation and nationalism making masculinity a lens through which to view conflict and nation-building. Media images of boys and young men may lead to the persistence of harmful concepts of masculinity. According to men's-rights activists, the media does not address men's-rights issues and men are often portrayed negatively in advertising. According to a paper submitted by Tracy Tylka to the American Psychological Association , "Instead of seeing a decrease in objectification of women in society, there has just been an increase in the objectification of both sexes.

And you can see that in the media today. Research in the United Kingdom found, "Younger men and women who read fitness and fashion magazines could be psychologically harmed by the images of perfect female and male physiques. It sucks to be judged for wearing bright-colored clothes. No, our bright clothes do not mean that we want to be sparkly and stand out.

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