News coverage of the shootings in Orlando highlighted a tension between the two frames broadcasters used in their reporting. Was this a homophobic hate crime or was this terrorism? Many elided the difficulty by calling it homophobic terrorism, but this could not resolve the tension. This article contends that because terrorism is closely equated with radicalized Muslims, the tension was sublimated into an existing orientalist frame where homophobia became a marker of fundamentalist Islamic culture. Instead, this article argues, these two frames should not be taken as cause and effect but as problems that share a common ailment: the presence of toxic masculinities. Beginning from a position that sees masculinity as constituted through violence in patriarchal culture, this article works through the idea that when there is a disillusionment with violence, masculinity under patriarchy turns toxic. What emerges then is not merely violence but "rage" as the praxis of toxic masculinities.
This article seeks to examine how gender and sexual identities shape sex work experiences among men, two spirit, and/or trans people in Vancouver.
In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with men and trans people in Metro Vancouver from Community Health Assessment of Men Who Purchase and Sell Sex. An intersectional critical feminist perspective guided the thematic analysis of interview transcripts, and ATLAS.ti 7 was used to manage data analysis.
Three themes emerged from the data: (1) the diversity of sexual and gender identities among sex workers and clients, (2) the expression and exploration of sexual and gender identities through sex work, and (3) the migration of sexual and gender minorities to urban centers to escape discrimination in their places of origin.
These findings complicate existing narratives of sex work, demonstrating the need for policies and services that reflect the diversity of sex work experiences.
High rates of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) related to high-risk sexual behaviors are a public health problem in the United States. Hispanics have the second highest rates of HIV infection among racial/ethnic minorities. Previous research with Hispanic men has identified a number of factors that influence sexual risk and render Hispanic men at risk for HIV/STIs that vary by sexual orientation. Despite these differences in sexual risk by sexual orientation, no study to date has compared the sexual behaviors of Hispanic men by sexual orientation.
The purpose of this study was to compare the sexual behaviors of a sample of Hispanic men residing along the US-Mexico border by sexual orientation.
A descriptive, cross-sectional design was used to collect data from 103 Hispanic men in a US-Mexico border community. The sample included fifty heterosexual men and fifty-three men who have sex with men (MSM). Participants completed two measures of sexual health/sexual behaviors and a demographic questionnaire.
Among this sample of Hispanic men, fewer heterosexual men were tested for HIV infection compared to MSM, more MSM reported HIV infection, MSM had higher rates of certain STIs, and MSM reported more sexual partners. MSM were more likely to experience sexual violence. Heterosexual Hispanic men reported lower rates of condom usage when compared to Hispanic MSM.
Hispanic men as a population may engage in high-risk sexual behaviors that place them at risk for HIV/STIs. More research focused on Hispanic men residing along the US-Mexico border can provide the foundation for intervention studies to help this population of men decrease their risk for HIV/STIs.
This paper is a response to Rachel O’Neill’s article "Whither Critical Masculinity Studies? Notes on Inclusive Masculinity Theory, Postfeminism, and Sexual Politics." It is suggested that her interpretation of the inclusive masculinity theory devalues Anderson’s (2009) perspectives, which focus on democratization of gender relations. Scholars of masculinity work in different conceptual frameworks, contributing to diverse aspects of ideological, political, and social agendas. Thus, it is argued that Anderson’s research recognizes the cultural transformations related to social justice and gender equality and contributes significantly to the field of masculinity studies.
This article analyzes 5,128 comments from thirty-five prominent football fan online message boards located across the United Kingdom and 978 online comments in response to a Guardian newspaper article regarding the decision by former German international footballer, Thomas Hitzlsperger, to publicly come out as gay in January 2014. Adopting the theoretical framework of inclusive masculinity theory, the findings demonstrate almost universal inclusivity through the rejection of homophobia and frequent contestation of comments that express orthodox views. From a period of high homophobia during the 1980s and 1990s, just 2 percent of the 6,106 comments contained pernicious homophobic intent. Rather than allow for covert homophobic hate speech toward those with a different sexual orientation, 98 percent of the comments illustrate a significant decrease in cultural homophobia than was present when Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.
The presentation of this article is to address in detail the situational experiences and social circumstances of trans men living in Poland today. Based on results arrived at through the author’s research, this article focuses on a number of accounts by transgender people of social reception of trans masculinity in Poland. The arising problems which trans men face in these situations are highlighted by the severity of the kinds of social pressure which are placed upon them, most of which are aimed at teaching them to conform according to the normative patterns of masculinity as commonly acknowledged in Polish society. Polish trans men’s attitudes to these pressures and their subsequent responses oscillate between passive conformity and conscious, performative resistance, which is herein analyzed.
In the past decade, traditional male circumcision, known as ulwaluko among the Xhosa-speaking people in the Eastern Cape Province, has become a burning issue in South Africa. The discourse has led to the emergence of two opposing camps: the supporters of ulwaluko who rely on "traditional ideology" to justify the cultural relevance of the practice, and the opposing camp who believe that ulwaluko is no longer in tandem with the reality of the twenty-first century. Amid the ongoing debate, this study investigated the perceptions of ulwaluko among South African university students at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. Open-ended individual interviews were conducted among nine male students at the university. The study relied on "hegemonic masculinity" as the theoretical framework. The study revealed mixed feelings about the ulwaluko ritual among the students interviewed. In spite of the exposure to modernization and Western education, the students interviewed were still emotionally and culturally attached to ulwaluko, especially as a rite of passage. While some doubted the ability of the ritual to change "bad boys" into "good boys," virtually all the participants believed that morbidity and mortality recorded during and after ulwaluko were not sufficient grounds to abolish it. This finding suggests ulwaluko may have, over the years, consciously or unconsciously, constructed an idealized masculine identity that is morally upright, faced with challenges to the ritual and burdened by a prescriptive set of masculine role expectations.
Based on interviews with fathers who stay home alone on parental leave in Norway, this article explores how the masculine identities of employed fathers may be affected by caring. Research on changing masculinities has been concerned with the reworking of men’s gender identities into caring ones, and this article aims to add empirical knowledge on ways that parental leave for fathers may contribute to undoing gender. Findings support a development toward "caring masculinities" in which values and practices of care are integrated into masculine identities without degradation in masculine status. Self-worth is measured against building care competence and being able to contribute love to their children rather than acquisition of status and resources. Findings also show that fathers tend to interpret caring within conventional masculine activities such as "hard work" and outdoor challenges.
This study addresses male sexual victimization as that which is both invisible and incomprehensible. Forensic interviews with young men following reports of suspected sexual assault reveal patterns of heteronormative scripts appropriated to make sense of sexual victimization. These scripts show that victimhood is largely incompatible with dominant notions of masculinity. Sexual coercion and assault embodied threat to boys’ (hetero)gendered selves, as they described feelings of shame and embarrassment, disempowerment, and emasculation. These masks of masculinity create barriers to disclosure and help to explain the serious underreporting of male sexual victimization. Questions of coercion and consent are addressed, as it relates to matters of legitimacy, sexuality, and power. With few exceptions, boys’ constructions of sexual violence have received little attention. This study adds the voices of young men to the developing empirical and theoretical research on male victims of sexual assault.
Psychological theories attempt to prove the abnormality of child sex offenders’ behavior through a deterministic analysis, whereby particular psychological characteristics are considered to predict child sex offending. Such a focus ignores the structures of power that influence men’s lives, a man’s active engagement with that social context, and how we might understand child sexual abuse as part of that engagement. By considering the meanings that sexual behavior with children has for offenders’ lives as men, this article discusses how an offender’s body and the body of a child are related to the concepts of sexuality and potency, how those bodies are ascribed meanings by the individual offender and other men, as well as the analytic utility of social learning theory and the power/powerlessness theory for understanding why sexually abused boys rather than sexually abused girls are more likely to become sex offenders with reference to two case studies.
Father’s involvement in his family typically has beneficial effects on maternal health during pregnancy and on his child’s health and well-being. The strength and pattern of these effects vary, however, and most studies consider only a few factors that contribute to father involvement. In this study, we describe development and pilot testing of the Father Resources Survey Instrument, which consists of twenty-nine questions measuring eleven dimensions and designed to assess psychological, social, and work-related resources associated with father’s involvement in his family. The final pilot test indicates that the Father Resources Instrument may help to understand a father’s involvement in his female partner’s pregnancy and the health and well-being of his child.
Men’s lifestyle magazines have long since been the focus of theorists in their examination of masculinity. However, research concerning men’s responses to such content, and whether these representations speak to their perceptions on embodying particular forms of masculinity in an Australian context, is largely absent. To understand how Australian men conceptualize their own ideas about masculinity and identity, interviews were conducted with twenty Australian men who were asked to peruse copies of men’s lifestyle magazines while pondering what it means to be masculine. Engaging with the theoretical frameworks of representational masculinity and masculine reformulation patterns, the results of this study found that the men interviewed identified four themes of social pressure perpetuated by these magazines regarding their own formation of a masculine identity. These include media representation and cultural consumption pressures, body image and muscularity pressures, performative sex and desirability expectations, and the fear of social judgment from both those who expect, and those who reject, particular performances of masculinity. Despite these articulations, however, the men maintained that these expectations affect other men and not themselves. While these men did not identify with these pressures, a textual analysis of their responses suggest otherwise, indicating a paradox in which they both accept and reject the mythscapes of aspirational masculinity presented before them.
This article offers a consideration of the gendered emotion of "shame" within the context of the lived experiences of spinal cord injured men, using "found life histories" as a source material. Drawing upon the Bourdieusian concept of "hysteresis," I theorize the emergence of a gendered disjuncture between incorporated expectations, values and assumptions, and the substantive enactments of masculinity socially available in the aftermath of spinal cord injury. Shame was often experienced within contexts characterized by "dangerous" social proximity to pathologized "others" (namely, disabled people and children) against which hegemonic masculinity is defined. I conclude the article by highlighting the particular limitations that Bourdieusian social theory can be used to identify in relation to individualized therapeutic interventions designed to encourage spinal cord injured men to adopt new understandings of masculinity.
Rather than a definition or redefinition of masculinity, or masculinities, this article asks what can masculinities do? To explore this question, I map the possibilities that Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy of immanence offer masculinities theory. Through a theoretical encounter with Deleuze, Guattari, Spinoza, and Gatens, I seek to open up an alternative conceptualization of masculinities that moves away from morality—transcendent judgments of good or bad—and toward an ethics that privileges our capacities for affecting and being affected. While masculinities studies and gender theory has proposed related notions concerning gender fluidity and resisting gender binaries, this article proposes an alternative through Deleuze’s and Gatens’ readings of Spinoza’s Ethics that radically challenges the mind–body split that informs traditional lineages of Western philosophy. What is at stake for this essay is the ability to conceive of masculinities as creative force with no allegiance to the male body other than its capacity to affect or be affected.
As an aspect of medieval sodomy, masturbation is often ignored or dismissed by medievalists. Although its status within medieval discourse on sex and gender is multiple and contested, this article demonstrates that it does have a recurrent cluster of associations, and it offers an important perspective on medieval masculinities and male sexuality. Moreover, far from constituting a meaningless, solitary act in medieval literature, on the contrary, masturbation is both overdetermined and always already relational.
Recent studies of ethnic return migration have explained why (economic, political, and affective) and where (Asia and Europe) this phenomenon has primarily occurred. Of the research available, however, few have examined the manner in which framings and practices of gender impact the experiences of those who participate in these transnational sojourns. This study fills this void by examining how Korean American male ethnic return migrants understand and negotiate their masculine identities, as they "return" to their ancestral homeland of South Korea. Utilizing data from in-depth qualitative interviews, this study finds that respondents initially configure South Korea as a site where they may redeem their marginalized masculine identities by taking advantage of the surplus human capital afforded to them by their American status. Over time, however, "returnees" come to realize the fluidity of masculinity and its ideals, exposing the tenuousness of their claims to hegemonic masculinity even in South Korea.
Despite scholarly interest in changes in masculinity, no study to date offers quantitative measures of nontraditional masculinity ideologies. We identify common denominators of "new masculinity" (NM) ideology rooted in therapeutic discourse, which includes themes of authenticity and holistic self-awareness. A theoretical construct of NM was formalized from in-depth interviews and operationalized as the NM Inventory (NMI). The NMI was tested for structural and external validity in two quantitative samples of Israeli men. The inventory demonstrated discriminant validity with traditional and consumer masculinity ideologies, converged with self-labeling as feminist, and was uniquely predicted by lower levels of modern sexism. This suggests stronger associations between NM and feminist attitudes than previously argued. Lay responses confounded between self-labeling as new man and as metrosexual, echoing ambiguities in public rhetoric of NM. As a unique measure of nontraditional masculinity, the NMI can spur more systematic research into variable outcomes of contemporary understandings of masculinity.
Research on migration typically focuses on adults; yet, each year, thousands of children and adolescents immigrate to the United States independently. The experiences and identities of these young immigrants are complicated by a myriad of social locations, not least of all their gender identity. Based on sixteen qualitative interviews with men who immigrated to the United States as unaccompanied minors in the 1990s and 2000s, this article provides an intersectional understanding of the dynamic relationship between masculine identity and migration experience for adolescent men who migrate by themselves. In particular, this work explores how migration can serve as a "male quest story," allows young men to take economic responsibility for their families, and provides the opportunity for men to escape local forms of violent masculinities.
Data from an international sample of 392 men who had attended gender-based violence (GBV) prevention events were used to examine motivations for involvement in GBV prevention work. Participants responded to an online survey (available in English, French, and Spanish). The most commonly reported reasons for involvement included concern for related social justice issues (87 percent), exposure to the issue of violence through work (70 percent), hearing a moving story about domestic or sexual violence (59 percent), and disclosure of abuse from someone close to the participant (55 percent). Using a latent class analysis, we identified four profiles of men’s motivations: low personal connection (22 percent), empathetic connection (26 percent), violence exposed connection (23 percent), and high personal and empathetic connection (29 percent). Participants classified into these profiles did not differ in length of movement involvement but some differences on key ally variables and by global region did emerge. Implications for engagement strategies and future research are discussed.
The aim of this study was to examine the factor structure of the Male Body Attitudes Scale (MBAS) among a sample of 212 adolescent males by conducting a confirmatory factor analysis. The data revealed that while muscularity and low body fat factors were appropriate for the male sample, the height factor was not supported. The composite MBAS-Spanish version (MBAS-S) and its two factors had high internal consistency and were not significantly related to the traditionally used measure of body image (Eating Disorder Inventory–Body Dissatisfaction [BD]), confirming that this subscale only appears to evaluate female body concerns. Correlations with psychological well-being variables (anxiety, emotional regulation, and self-esteem) supported the concurrent validity of the instrument. These findings provide further evidence in support of the hypothesis that BD in males has been inappropriately evaluated by measures designed specifically for females. Despite the fact that our results did not replicate the original factorial structure of the instrument, the MBAS-S presents adequate psychometric properties and can be considered as a valuable assessment tool for BD among adolescent males.
Queer theory has long argued for the liberatory potential of separating masculinity from men. This article examines whether and how masculinities can be radically transgressive for individuals and simultaneously re-create gendered systems of inequality. In two case studies—a drag troupe and a queer leather club—we find that the cultivated queer sexualities were mimetic iterations of sexual practices among gay men and came rife with both the possibilities and problematics of these real and imagined tropes. We trace the consequences of this in two processes: the eroticization and self-exploration of masculinity and the reliance on validation from gay men. We find that the empowering sexualities taken up by individuals were concurrently rooted in and reproduced sexist meanings of desire and sexual agency. In so doing, we contribute to sociological understanding of masculinities by charting how androcentrism is reproduced in some groups, with or without the presence of male bodies.
Focusing on Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia, this article examines film and music that emerged in the region since the end of the Yugoslav Wars of Succession. We analyze how the uncertainties of the postwar era facilitated a dynamic field of cultural contestation in which the music and film industries simultaneously challenge and affirm normative masculine sociocultural roles. Although traditional norms have not lost their primacy in public life, we emphasize the fact that attitudes toward masculinity have, in general, become increasingly ambiguous and multivalent. While local sociological studies accurately observe that violence and intolerance constitute central traits for the majority of men in the West Balkans, our research reflects on how popular culture complicates the idea that postwar West Balkan masculinities have remained uniform, static, and defined exclusively by aggression. We thus focus on the most popular musical and cinematic productions that embody the tension inherent in the contemporary representations of West Balkan masculinity. From our examples, it becomes clear that generalized instability attending new market economies and postwar political turmoil have indeed created a context within which national gender norms have entered a state of flux.
This article examines the gendered portrayals of religion in Scandinavian men’s magazines. Based on verbal and visual material from Slitz, M!, and Mann, focusing on the years 1998 and 2008, the study asks how are gendered ideas of religion and religiosity constructed in Scandinavian men’s magazines? and how can these constructions be interpreted, both in light of the specific contexts of the men’s magazines and broader cultural notions of gender and religion? The findings show that the magazines construct gendered religious subjectivities: the "crazy religious girlfriend" in 1998, the sexualized Christian woman in 2008, and "the bad, patriarchal religious man," prevalent in both years. This article proposes that the constructions are shaped and informed by dominating cultural ideas of religion and gender, for example, informed by the construction of "the bad Muslim Man" and more specifically set into the gendered scripts on intimate relationships and violence characterizing the new lad discourse.
This article explores expressions of Russian masculinity in the Russian anekdot—a short humorous (and at times politically subversive) narrative that was highly popular during the late-Soviet era. Although anekdots challenged the legitimacy of Soviet power and highlighted inconsistences between propaganda and reality, they utilize and therefore reinforce categories and concepts of the very social system they contest. In conducting a paired content and discourse analysis of 1,290 Soviet-era Russian anekdots, this article demonstrates how this genre both (1) reveals a crisis in Soviet-era Russian masculinity and (2) contributes to a hierarchy of cultural citizenship established through the definition of particular racial, national, and gendered groups as "other." In doing so, the focus is not only on the objects of the jokes, individuals or groups that are scrutinized and ridiculed, but also on the subjects of the joke and the joke tellers themselves. This project demonstrates how Russian men are distinguished from Russian women as well as ethnic and national others through discourses of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality.
This article examines male street prostitution in Manchester, England, and draws some comparisons to its female counterpart in this city. While the two sectors have some important similarities, we also find significant differences in the physical and social ecology of the places in which they work, in their behavior patterns, and in individuals’ demographics and work experiences. We find that ecological differences between the male and female markets have a major impact on participants’ work practices, opportunities, and integration into the local community. The data also indicate that it is incorrect to speak of a monolithic male street market or sector in Manchester because sellers shift between settings (street, bar, and escorting), unlike the female street sector. We also find that the males demonstrate more diversity in their repertoires for earning money. The findings have implications for local government policy and for outreach workers who work with these populations.
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between married men’s level of male role norms and their level of marital adjustment. Male role norms were examined as predictors of marital adjustment in Turkish married men using a Turkish version of the Marital Adjustment Scale and the Male Role Norms Inventory. Academic and managerial staff from Ondokuz Mayıs University participated in the research. The study sample consisted of 183 male participants, all of whom had been married to a member of the opposite sex for at least one year. The correlations among the study variables indicate that avoidance of femininity, restrictive emotionality, aggression, achievement status, self-reliance, and attitudes toward sex are significantly related to marital adjustment. Additionally, the results reveal that male role norms are a predictor of marital adjustment. We conclude that marital adjustment is determined by avoidance of femininity, restrictive emotionality, aggression, achievement status, and attitudes toward sex.
Despite the alarming numbers of workers living in poverty in developed countries, work is still commonly seen as a way out of poverty. From a social constructivist perspective and based on qualitative research of the working poor in Israel, the article explores low-income Arab and Jewish working men’s views of poverty. It addresses research topics such as the meaning of work, the perception of the workplace, and the experience of poverty and coping strategies. In addition, the article examines the presence of ethnic differences in the social construction of in-work poverty. At the theoretical level, the article questions dominant views of work as the main exit from poverty, highlights the impact of gender and ethnicity in the construction of in-work poverty, and suggests the need for more context and gender-informed policies to respond to the complexity of the male working poor population.
Globally, older adults have higher suicide rates than other age-groups. However, it is predominantly men who die of suicide in late adulthood, with variability by culture. In the United States, European-descent men are overrepresented among suicide decedents. In this article, theories and evidence about aging adversities, individual dispositions, and cultural influences were evaluated for their potential to explain the suicide vulnerability of European-descent older men. Aging adversities were not found to account for these men’s suicide proneness. European-descent older men are exposed to less severe aging adversities than older women or ethnic-minority men—though they may be more impacted by them. Rigidity in coping and in sense of self, consistent with hegemonic-masculinity scripts, emerged as individual-level clues. The indignities-of-aging and the masculinity-of-suicide scripts may be cultural influences. This analysis shows how consideration of masculinities and suicide scripts expands our understanding of older men’s suicide as well as, likely, our tools for its prevention.
This article explores the worldview of the "seduction community" operating within the homosocial spaces of North-American "Guyland." This community provides seduction workshops catering mainly to men stereotyped as nerds who are situated at the bottom of the social–sexual hierarchy despite their privileged position in the postindustrial workplace. Based on content analysis of the community’s self-help literature, the article argues that the community offers a "geeky" solution to the dilemmas of young masculinity and fosters a pickup model based on gaming logic. Courtship is construed as a standardized, rule-governed social skill and is characterized by hyperconsumerism and objectification of women. As part of his self-empowerment, the pickup artist adopts an avatar persona and employs teasing and make-believe techniques. As trainees aim to accomplish control over self and others in compliance with hegemonic masculinity, the strict reliance on gaming logic culminates in the dehumanization of all parties and suspends moral considerations.
Contemporary sociological research indicates rural men face increasing pressure to comply with hegemonic masculine gender norms. Adopting Butler’s poststructural theory of gender performativity, this study presents findings from qualitative interviews with twenty-five self-identified male Goths living in rural Australia, revealing how participants enacted masculinity and how rurality shaped gender performance. Despite participants’ believing their Goth identity transcended geographic location, Goth self-expression of counternormative masculinity was met with societal pressure. Rural Australian communities were presented as strongly upholding normative, traditional gender expectations as most participants experienced adverse responses, namely, homophobic hostility, employment discrimination, bullying, and/or physical assault, which necessitated modification of gender performance for individual safety and well-being. Participants largely attributed negative reactions to rural communities’ "closed-mindedness" in contrast with the "open-mindedness" they experienced in urban communities. Overall, participants believed urban communities in Australia and beyond displayed greater acceptance of diverse gender performances than rural Australia.
In this article, we examine the first author’s experiences before, during, and after a vasectomy to uncover gaps in existing masculinities scholarship. Utilizing collaborative autoethnographic methods, we document some ways the first author’s experience reveals (1) missing pieces in existing research into masculinities and vasectomies, (2) unanswered questions about manhood and reproductive justice, and (3) limitations in contemporary conceptualizations of hegemonic and compensatory manhood acts. In conclusion, we suggest some ways to extend masculinities scholarship by critically examining situational variations in what it means to be a man as well as some ways vasectomy experiences may influence these ideals.
Does the cultural blueprint for "being a man" direct older men into patterns of conduct and emotions similar to younger men? In the absence of cultural guidelines for aging as a man, this theoretically grounded article discusses the masculinity standards that are likely to influence how older men go about their lives. Framed by Brannon’s mid-1970s conceptualization of masculinity as an ideology, we reexamined existing narrative and interview-based research within ninety-eight prior studies to identify the masculinities voiced by older men. The narratives mirrored Brannon’s four-dimension model of the cultural guidelines for being a man. Masculinity matters, and without unique guidelines for being an older man, men live by and struggle with traditional masculinities that have influenced them across their life course.
Depression can be viewed as a psychiatric illness and, as a folk ideology, part of the conceptual world of everyday life for many people. In public culture, ideas about depression are often associated with culturally feminine traits (e.g., expressed sadness, uncontrollable crying, and other forms of emotionality) and in contrast to a sense of rationality publicly ascribed (however incorrectly) to men. Such gendered traits can consequently pose challenges to constructions of masculinity in older men who experience forms of stress related to loss and finitude. This article draws upon interviews from a unique sample—eight older men who reside in a military-sponsored retirement community—to explore how masculinity is performed and defended in light of age- and person-based threats such as depression. Findings point to the importance of the lifelong identity as a military serviceman as an important site through which to negotiate, process, or deny change with age.
Recent years have seen increasing discussions of sexuality in later life. Today, continued sexual activity is gradually understood as a positive and healthy aspect of aging, in contrast to how aging historically was primarily associated with asexuality. Old men’s sexual function, in particular, has been a topic of notable interest to scholars and popular media alike, an interest spurred not least by the market introduction of Viagra and other sexuo-pharmaceuticals. If aging men’s sexual function has been the object of extensive discussion, considerably less attention has been given to the question of sexual desire in later life, neither women’s nor men’s. Old men’s sexual desire is a potentially conflictual field as men are often expected to be sexually willing but the old man who shows continued sexual interest also run the risk of being labeled a "dirty old man." This article focuses on old men, masculinity, and sexual desire through the interview narratives of Swedish med between sixty-seven and eighty-seven years old. In dialogue with Sara Ahmed’s work on queer phenomenology, the article discusses asserted sexual desire as a form of orientation that shapes old men’s heterosexual subjectivities. The interviewees expressed that sexual desire continued to be an important aspect of later life, but sexual desire was also understood to vanish as one aged. For those who expressed a lack of sexual desire, this was sometimes experienced as a "gender trouble" but was also made sense of in relation to feeling old. All on all, intimacy was a central way of making sense of later life sexuality. The article concludes that narratives on intimacy could be understood as ways of retaining a heterosexual orientation as one ages. Through narratives of intimacy men could express a continued interest in sexuality, but in positive and unthreatening ways that avoided the stigmatization of being a dirty old man.
For his large-scale, color series The Struggle to Right Oneself (begun in 2002), contemporary performance-photographer Kerry Skarbakka depicts himself falling in order to discuss personal and broader social instabilities, such as the "falling" reputation of the United States and the politics of identity. Although his white, male body in this precarious act suggests the potential loss of control of white masculinity, I argue that his work reinstates ideals of manhood in numerous ways. By analyzing the performative making of the series, the images themselves, and Skarbakka’s presentations after he has made them, I examine how white masculinity continues as a highly operative, but un(der)examined, position in the contemporary United States. In particular, the construction of white masculinity in this series is furthered through the long-established tropes of "work" and failure while the myth that certain bodies circulate without embodied particularities—a dangerous myth cultivated by, and necessary for, neoliberal ideologies—continues.
This article interrogates West and Zimmerman’s Doing Gender paradigm by examining the Muxes of Juchitán, a little known third gender in El Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca México. After presenting preliminary findings based on personal interviews with forty-two muxes and forty-eight community members, distinguishing between muxes and gays and describing the wide variation in the muxe lifestyle, the essay concludes that muxes are a third sex/gender category that is actively redoing the prevailing Western gender binary as well as traditional Mexican conceptions of gender and sexuality. They are an indigenous third sex/gender category, which is less about Western conceptions of sexuality, sexual identity, or doing transgender and more about retaining the language, cultural categories, practices, and worldviews of indigenous communities.
This study explored whether tolerance of sexual harassment of men (TSHM) is driven by a common set of sexist ideologies typically found to be related to tolerance of sexual harassment of women. University students (N = 433) completed a modified version of the Sexual Harassment Attitude Scale (SHAS) designed to measure TSHM. Predictor variables included sexual harassment myths about women, modern sexism, hostile, and benevolent sexism toward men and women and participant gender. A factor analysis of the measure revealed two reliable factors (sexual harassment as flirtation and minimization of victimization). With the exception of benevolence toward women, men scored higher on all measures of sexism and TSHM, yet correlational patterns showed a similar trend among men and women, suggesting a shared ideological belief that justifies TSHM. Despite differences in participant sex on most measures, participant sex was not a significant moderating variable in regression analyses when examining factors relating to TSHM. These results provide support that tolerance of sexual harassment is driven by a common set of sexist attitudes.
Limited research is available with regard to the experience of biological fathers who are interested in being involved in their children’s lives but are restricted from doing so. In this study, we aimed to contribute to understanding these paternal constraints and to give unmarried fathers a platform to voice their experiences regarding restricted contact with their children. Interviews were conducted with six single, Setswana-speaking black fathers in South Africa. The phenomenological analysis revealed fatherhood to be an unplanned event at an early age; the cultural responsibilities and conventions regarding marriage and children, and the role these played in restricting contact; constructions of fathers as financial providers; and fathers’ emotional experience of restricted access to their children. We conclude that constraining fatherhood constructions make it difficult for fathers, and also mothers and grandparents, to conceive of fathers’ contributions beyond financial provision. These constructions curtail unmarried fathers’ involvement with their children.
Little is known of the factors that influence an individual’s interest in stable relationships. The drive to have support in child care is one, as evidenced by evolutionary theory, but that does not explain the formation of stable homosexual relationships, in which there is no risk of pregnancy from casual sex. Surveys were administered to 177 gay males to understand this phenomenon. Anxious attachment style and base sex drive were found to be the strongest predictors of, respectively, interest in uncommitted sex and interest in (stable) sentimental relationships. Avoidant attachment, sexual attitudes, and internalized homophobia also have an influence on the type of relationship sought. Interestingly, interest in sentimental relationships and interest in uncommitted sex appear not to be correlated.
Are male/female gender relations mainly (mechanically) done, (willing) undone, or (conditionally) redone? To what extent do social structurations, historical processes, and subjective strategies influence gender relations? This article is a contribution to answer these questions. After a short review of the conceptual debate brought about by West and Zimmerman’s notion of "doing gender," the author’s own long-term empirical research into gender relations in the transnational lives of Ecuadorians and Senegalese in Spain is used to argue that gender relations usually stretch and shrink and are consequently displaced from their original forms by the changing aims, situations, and dynamics in which they are displayed. The main features of these displacements or shifts in the studied case (i.e., hierarchical intersectionality, dual logic, and situated character) confirm that gender relations are conditionally sustained by interactions, which produce continuous variations in their forms and issues.
Recent research demonstrated that more men, particularly those in couple relationships, are using vibrators to enhance sexual pleasure. However, men’s perceptions of vibrator use with a partner have rarely been investigated. The purpose of this analysis was to study men’s perceptions of the impact of vibrator use on their and their partner’s sexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction. Forty-nine men, aged twenty-five to fifty-eight, in heterosexual relationships responded to a series of open-ended questions regarding their experience of incorporating a couple-oriented vibrator into their sexual repertoire over a six-week period. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The data were organized into four themes: physical pleasure, awareness of partner’s experience, novelty and variety, and intimacy. Men’s experiences of sexual pleasure were tied to perceptions of their partner’s pleasure and to the addition of novelty and variety in sexual encounters.
In this article, young people’s hypermasculine performances of gender in a Danish institution for young offenders are analyzed. Through the ethnographic method of detailed observations of two situations of young people, one male and one female, entering an institution for young offenders, it is demonstrated that hypermasculinity is created as a collective frame of meaning creating both possibilities and restraints in concrete situations. Hypermasculinity is often discussed in relation to criminality as an intensification of hegemonic understandings of what constitutes a "real man" and thus as part of male offender’s identity formation. In this article, the relational analysis shows that hypermasculinity is not alone to be understood as the expression of the individual young person’s performances but rather as the dominating institutional frame guiding all gender performances. The observed hypermasculine frame comprises notions of a real man based on performances of overt sexuality, the willingness to commit violence, and the limitation of subversive performances.
The intersections of masculinities and age have attracted relatively little theorizing. This article examines the theoretical implications of young/old age and masculinities by bringing together two bodies of literature (young age and masculinities and old age and masculinities) and two research studies (one with pre-teenage school students in Australia and one with grandfathers in the United Kingdom). We focus on two key themes: caring practices and relations and the divide between physical activity and intellectual pursuits. Drawing on these themes, we show how age allows for gender transgressions and practices of gender equality and how young boys and old men can also uphold a discourse of hegemonic masculinity, despite age-related tensions. We conclude by arguing that a consideration of age has much to offer in terms of thinking about how gender is socially constructed and illuminates the complex power relations of age and gender categories.
This study evaluates the portrayal of sixteen recently widowed male characters in US mainstream film (2002–2011) through ethnographic content analysis. The depicted expectations for bereaved men in film largely fall in line with hegemonic norms. Characteristics of age, race, gender, and profession suggest a sustained preference for young, middle-class, and white depictions of characters. Young men were generally depicted as reserved with emotions and assertive. Films depicted older men as isolated, begrudgingly allowing family and acquaintances into their lives. Grief spurs men at any age into action-based plots of thrill and adventure though in reality widowers retain much of the same commonplace existence they had prior to a partner’s death. Understanding the gendered representation of grief can help to recognize the social construction of death and loss. These portrayals contribute to hegemonic norms of masculinity within mainstream media and to cultural understandings and expectations of grief, limiting the experience of bereavement to dichotomous genders.
In this article, the author discusses the benefits of using psychodynamic theory in researching black masculinities of adolescent boys in Alexandra Township, South Africa. Both individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with thirty-two adolescent boys, aged thirteen to eighteen years. These boys were provided with disposable cameras to take twenty-seven photos under the theme "my life as a boy" in the new South Africa. Arrangements were made for photos to be collected and processed. In the individual interviews, the participants were asked to give a description of each photo and why and how they had decided to take that photo to represent aspects of their masculine identities. Group interviews were also conducted in which the participants were asked to select five photos that best described their masculinities. Follow-up interviews were also conducted with four boys who were conforming and another four boys who were rejecting traditional notions of masculinity. In analyzing the data, the researcher used Frosh and Emerson’s (2005) psychodynamic-informed discursive interpretive framework to analyze feelings of ambivalence, hesitations, and contradictions revealed in the spoken texts about hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculinities. In addition, the attention in the analysis was paid to the researcher’s countertransference reactions to understand emotional concerns and tensions of being an adolescent black boy living in a township context. In conclusion, it is recommended that safe spaces should be created for adolescent boys to reflect on the subjective meanings, feelings, and emotions of what it means to be a boy in the new South Africa. It is argued in this article that psychodynamic theory has an important value in informing such community-based interventions.
This article explores the European Union (EU)’s Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) through a framework based on feminist institutional theory that highlights the durability in the dynamics of gender relations. Path dependency based on historic features of military institutions—a strict sex division based on "gender war roles"—has influenced the development of different CSDP bodies. The CSDP is sexed because male bodies dominate the organizations studied, yet this remains invisible through normalization. A dominant EU hierarchical military masculinity is institutionalized in the EU’s Military Committee, combat heterosexual masculinity in the Battle groups, and EU protector masculinity in the EU Training missions. The CSDP embodies different types of military masculinities; the relations between them are important for the reproduction of the gender order through a gendered logic of appropriateness. Yet, this too is invisible as part of the informal aspects of organizations. While women’s bodies are written out of the CSDP, the construction of femininity in relation to the protector/protected binary is central to it. Two protected femininities are read in the texts. The vulnerable femininity of women in conflict areas is important for how the CSDP understands itself in relation to gender mainstreaming. In relation to the vulnerable femininity, CSDP constructs an EU protector masculinity, in turn, set against an aggressive violent masculinity in the areas where missions are deployed. Women’s bodies are absent from the CSDP and they lack agency but are nevertheless associated with a protected femininity.
It is generally accepted that pornography is widely consumed by young men and that mainstream heterosexual pornography is characterized by a dynamic of male sexual dominance and female submission. What is less agreed upon is whether such pornography is a source of "sexist education" (Flood 2010) for men or whether men engage with it in an empathic and ethical manner. In this study, we discuss findings from interviews with twenty-one young men about pornography and its consumption. They described it as normative for men to watch pornography and they described "extreme" content as "normal." It was clear that they were unused to having to account for the appeal of pornography. Men’s discussion of male sexual dominance and female submission, and violence against women, within pornography was characterized by detachment. Most of the men did not take up the challenge to notice and critically respond to the sexism within the material they described. There were some exceptions, with a minority of the participants reflecting on the ethical dilemmas posed by their consumption of such pornography.
In this article, we examine gender representations in secular and religious media. Based on comparative content analysis of six secular and religious magazines, we analyze how both types of media represented manhood in ways that facilitate the elevation of men at the expense of women. Specifically, we demonstrate how religious and secular magazines represented fatherly and spousal manhood by emphasizing inherent gender differences, male leadership, protection and control, and reasons to excuse men for failing to live up to familial and marital expectations. In conclusion, we draw out implications for understanding the importance of comparative analyses of secular and religious media, the insights that such analyses provide for the study of contemporary secular and religious dynamics, and the reproduction of gender inequalities.
Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity is often reduced to a singular construct, consisting of "toxic" traits viewed as detrimental to well-being. However, the concept allows for variation in hegemony, including the possibility of forms more conducive to well-being. Through in-depth interviews with thirty male meditators in the United Kingdom, we explored the social dimensions of meditation practice to examine its potential implications for well-being. Most participants became involved with "communities of practice" centered on meditation that promoted new local hegemonies, and these included ideals experienced as conducive to well-being, like abstinence. However, social processes associated with hegemony, like hierarchy and marginalization, were not overturned. Moreover, participants faced challenges enacting new practices in relation to the broader system of hegemonic masculinity—outside these communities—reporting censure. Our findings are cautionary for professionals seeking to encourage well-being behaviors: that is, there is potential for adaptation in men, yet complex social processes influence this change.
We examine both gay and straight men’s constructions of masculinity using 358 self-descriptive dating profiles from Match.com of "men seeking men" and "men seeking women" in eight southern US metropolitan areas. In addition to the men’s specific references to gender and gendered performances, we discuss three broad topics of the men’s self-descriptions including personality, leisure, and work. This analysis reveals the ideal characteristics these men used to construct their own masculine identities and masculinity in relation to femininity. Although examples of conformity and nonconformity existed across both gay and straight men, we found that gay men constructed their own identities in keeping with the codes of historically heteronormative masculinities as fluently, and sometimes more so, than straight men. We explore the most prominent nuances between gay and straight men’s paths to claiming "masculine capital," straight men’s greater leeway to temporarily distance themselves from masculine dominance, and the influence of hierarchies within masculinity on straight and gay men’s constructions of femininity.
A space has emerged for theorizing "caring masculinities," as the concept has increasingly become a focus of European critical studies on men and masculinities (CSMM). In this article, I present a practice-based framework of the concept. I propose that caring masculinities are masculine identities that reject domination and its associated traits and embrace values of care such as positive emotion, interdependence, and relationality. I suggest that these caring masculinities constitute a critical form of men’s engagement and involvement in gender equality and offer the potential of sustained social change for men and gender relations. I draw on CSMM and feminist care theory to construct the framework proposed here. In doing so, I offer a feminist exploration of how masculinities might be reworked into identities of care rather than domination.
Carole Pateman’s idea of the "sexual contract" can be adapted to study the nationalist imagination. If a society defined through a sexual contract is equated to the "civic nation," then the sexual basis of an "ethnic nation" might be called the "gentleman’s agreement." The terms of the gentleman’s agreement, while never articulated as clearly as the sexual contract, nevertheless reveal themselves in cultural practices. Hungarians presupposed a nation consisting of ennobled men capable of seducing women to the "national brotherhood." Hungarian ideas about the nation evolved during the nineteenth century, and Hungarian ideals of masculinity also changed: a manliness of strength increasingly gave way to a masculinity of education or refinement. Although the different types of masculinity implied different attitudes toward women, they both rested on similar cultural assumptions. This article links the cultural history of Hungarian national masculinity to everyday practices, notably moustaches, cigars, and sexuality.
The men’s rights movement and its academic offshoot "New Male Studies" are considered in light of the turn to affect. I argue that affective utterances, "I feel," become phallic in the men’s rights movement and function in a defensive mode. Unlike the phallus as guarantor of masculinity, which is currently up for debate, the affective utterance cannot be denied—that is, affect is wholly subjective. However, we can, as theorists, ask questions about how and why affect is being used.
In recent years, academic and public attention has increasingly focused on the issue of men’s preoccupation with body image and the increasing incidence of eating disorders among men. Although most of this focus has been on young and adult males, media discourse has tended to extend explanations for men’s aspirations for social body ideals to explanations for eating disorders in young boys. In this article, we take a critical look at the way the boys/body image/eating disorder nexus has been represented in some of the mainstream media. In particular, we propose that the boys/body image/eating disorder nexus has been constituted as a truth that tends to underplay the complexity of the relationship between eating disorders and boys’ dissatisfaction with their bodies, as recognized by researchers and health practitioners, and as evident from our own study of preteen boys diagnosed with an eating disorder. In this article, we use interviews with the six boys and their mothers collected for our study to construct short family biographies. These biographies are used to illustrate the complexity of the boys’ experience of an eating disorder and to trouble the certainty with which the media discourse explaining boys’ eating disorders is constituted.
The Twilight franchise, based upon the popular Young Adult vampire romantic series, is, unquestionably, female-driven. However, the series’ romantic themes and enthusiastic female fans, as well as the public disdain they have received, have overshadowed the male fans of the series. To explore male fans’ interest in Twilight, how they reconciled their masculine identities with their attraction to a feminine text, and what they learned from Twilight’s romantic messages, we discuss our findings from surveys and group interviews with male Twilight fans. Both the lack of scholarly literature on male audiences of romantic media and the experiences of male Twilight fans reveal that we know little about the roles romantic media play in boys’ and men’s lives. We argue that studying male audiences of romantic media is a useful approach to begin to build an understanding of the roles feminine media forms play in boys’ and men’s gendered identities.
Using the survey responses of 522 married men (eighteen to fifty-one years) in Vietnam, we explored how gendered social learning in boyhood and challenges to men’s expected status in marriage may increase the risk that men perpetrate intimate partner violence (IPV) against their wives. Over one-third (36.6 percent) of the participants reported having ever perpetrated psychological, physical, or sexual IPV against their current wife. Accounting for other characteristics of men in the sample, witnessing IPV as a boy, being physically maltreated as a boy, and being the same age or younger than one’s wife were associated with almost two to three times higher odds of perpetrating any IPV. Men with thirteen to eighteen completed grades of schooling had about half the adjusted odds of ever perpetrating any IPV than men with twelve or fewer completed grades (aOR = 0.56). The determinants of men’s perpetration of physical IPV and psychological IPV were, largely, similar. Programs to prevent men’s perpetration of IPV should address the parenting practices of boys that legitimize men’s aggression and gendered status expectations in marriage, which when challenged, may lead husbands to respond with violence. Engaging men to endorse nonviolent masculinities is an important consideration for future intervention.
Social trends show that contemporary fathers are spending increased time with their children and that active play and outdoor recreation are important features of their relationships. Dominant ideals of masculinity can differ by settings, which in turn guide men’s understandings and practices of fathering regarding the functions of and opportunities afforded by active play. This article draws on individual interview data from a study of fathers residing in three Canadian settings—large urban, small urban, and rural—to elucidate father masculinities and highlight similarities and differences in how men describe connections between fathering and active play with their children. Findings suggest that for large urban, small urban, and rural fathers, respectively, play functions as a means of emotional engagement, development of capacity for outdoor activities, and teaching children survival skills. We propose that the sociostructural and cultural dynamics of place shape masculine identities and influence men’s understandings of fathering.
In the early 1960s, a wave of extremely successful Hollywood surfing and beach party films captivated the imagination of American teenage cinema audiences. This essay analyzes the Hollywood beach party cycle as part and parcel of the exotification of youthful white masculinity, a phenomenon that has received no scholarly attention to this date. Films like Gidget (1959), Beach Party (1963), Blue Hawaii (1961), or Ride the Wild Surf (1964) represented their male protagonist, the surfer, as a natural, rugged, and rebelliously masculine type unspoiled by domesticity and suburban conformity. While being exceedingly white, the figure of the surfer evidences postwar America’s ongoing fascination with racial difference. The surfer’s superior manliness depended on his association with the exotic. Simultaneously, however, it was this very association that threatened both the surfer’s masculinity and his whiteness.
During the last several decades, research concerning the developmental trajectories, experiences, and behaviors of college men as "gendered" persons has emerged. In this article, we first critically review literature on Black men’s gender development and expressions within college contexts to highlight certain knowledge gaps. We then conceptualize and discuss progressive Black masculinities by relying on Mutua’s germinal work on the subject. Further, we engage Black feminist scholarship, both to firmly situate our more pressing argument for conceptual innovation and to address knowledge gaps in the literature on Black men’s gender experiences. It is our belief that scholars who study gender development and expressions of masculinities among Black undergraduate men could benefit from employing autocritography, and its built-in assumptions, to inform several aspects of their research designs. Autocritography is a critical autobiography that some Black profeminist men engage to invite readers into their gendered lifeworlds.
Examining the representation of white men and masculinity in two recently published Canadian short stories, both of which contend with the cultural fallout of globalization. The literary readings of "The Number Three," by Alexander MacLeod and "The Beggar’s Garden", by Michael Christie are located within three critical contexts: the concept of "white civility" developed by Daniel Coleman, which describes a distinctively Canadian model of masculinity; the notion of "white masculinity in crisis"; and the form of the "return story," defined by Canadian literary critic Gerald Lynch as the concluding story in a short story cycle. The stories ultimately confirm a particularly Canadian form of hegemonic masculinity, which derives the patriarchal dividend by projecting anti-elitism, commitment to community, and civility; underneath that projection, however, the fantasy of traditional social structures and gendered labor divisions is affirmed. In their experimentation with the genre of the short story cycle and the return story, MacLeod and Christie work to represent white men reeling from an awareness of their own economic and domestic marginalization, and yet who manage to reaffirm a sense of hegemonic masculinity via the staging of gendered settlement activity, or reterritorialization. What emerges from a close reading of the two short stories is a picture of a distinctively Canadian hegemonic masculinity, whereby the assertion of the "natural" right to control space is related to—indeed, ensues from—an ability to empathize with community, to perform modest economic and domestic aspirations, and to cope with loss in civil terms.
Single men are theoretically free to pursue as many sexual partners as they like, but for adult single men maturity requires that they do not. This article makes explicit that displays of heterosexuality and their link to hegemonic masculinity change over time. Analyzing twenty-six face-to-face interviews with never-married and divorced middle-aged, heterosexual, white men, this article focuses specifically on how men claim a mature heterosexual identity outside the institution of marriage. Men believe that in one’s twenties a man should get "laid all the time" but beginning in his mid-thirties he should begin to "turn away from meaningless things." Thus, the men in this study rely on "manhood acts" to signify a masculine self that changes over the life course. The author argues that the narrative men tell emerges as a compensatory manhood act—a mechanism to resist exploitation and defy the negative cultural narrative about them—and considers whether or not it is effective.
This article focuses on the prison as a gendered organization and examines the consequences for treating the male prisoner as the generic prisoner. In order to simplify security protocols and manage outsiders, prison staff and correctional officers use a "commonsense" approach that draws on long-standing and structurally embedded assumptions about the uncontrollable masculinity of minority men. In a "postracial" and "color-blind" modern America, however, the assumption that prisoners are hyperviolent, hypersexual, and dangerously masculine is applied to all prisoners regardless of race. Drawing on two-and-a-half years of ethnographic fieldwork inside a high-security prison, this article discusses the ways that the assumed dangerous masculinity of prisoners facilitates security protocols and isolates male prisoners from their children and families.
Contemporary accounts of the first generation of white men born in Australia seemed to describe them as physically superior to their British counterparts. Social and economic historians provide evidence that they were indeed taller and explain the phenomenon in terms of diet and living standards. This article suggests that contemporary observations also reflected the eighteenth-century British concerns that "civilized" life in Britain threatened the essential nature of men. Popular medical literature highlighted the problems, emigration was promoted as the solution, and men’s personal writings reveal that they understood and acted on these messages. The physical superiority of Australia’s firstborn white men was not unexpected. But the short-lived optimism around these "new" men highlights ongoing tensions between men and modernity.
As knowledge about the biological foundation of the modern patriarchal gender order is increasingly challenged within late-modern social worlds enclaves persist in which men and women can attempt to recreate understandings of the "natural" basis of sex difference. Within "Power Gym," male boxers were able to symbolize their bodies and behaviors in such a manner. The language and logic of popular scientific discourses authored and authorized notions of an "innate" manhood. The ability to instrumentally deploy one’s manliness in symbolically legitimate ways could then be represented and emotionally experienced as a man’s biological right and obligation. Through scripted performances of "mimetic" violence and self-bullying, the boxers were able to experience this discursive naturalness and carve out a masculinity-validating social enclave. As such, they accessed a "patriarchal dividend" by securing a local pastiche hegemony in which discourses surrounding men’s natural place as physically and psychologically dominant remained largely uncontested. Through the reflexive appropriation of "science," within appropriate subcultural codes, these men could negotiate taboos and restrictions that are characteristic of late-modern social worlds. When considered in this way, the power of "scientific" truth claims to explain and justify a certain level of violence, aggression, and behaviors coded as masculine, comes to the fore.
This article examines the prevalence of homosocial tactility and the contemporary status and meaning of heteromasculinity among British male youth. Drawing on in-depth interviews with forty student-athletes at a British university, we find that thirty-seven participants have cuddled with another male. In addition to this cuddling, participants also engage in "spooning" with their heterosexual male friends. Demonstrating the pleasurable aspects of being a man in this culture, we argue that the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture. We call for the discussion of heteromasculinities and contextualize our findings using inclusive masculinity theory.
This article examines how different groups of men negotiate and produce distinct masculinities in actual encounters. The article studies the establishment of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) during the 1940s and focuses on how American and Israeli Jews interacted in fund-raising events. It identifies the threats to the masculine faces of these groups that arose in this setting and examines the organizational practices that were developed in order to allow these groups to cooperate and coproduce their distinct models of masculinity. Exploring masculinities in interaction highlights the importance of concrete organizational practices and monetary transactions, in particular, for the construction of masculinities. Specific discursive and organizational arrangements allow actors to act in a masculine manner and receive affirmation for their masculine claims. In the case examined here, specific discursive practices and the temporal and spatial organization of fund-raising events eased the tensions between two distinct groups of men and allowed them to maintain their distinct and potentially conflicting masculinities.
This qualitative research examined perceptions of Muslim and Jewish teachers in Israel concerning the masculinity of male school principals, and the way in which these perceptions affect principal–teacher relationships. Muslim and Jewish teachers studying for master of arts’ degrees in a university and a teacher-education college in Israel completed open questionnaires and participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings indicated similarities and differences between the perceptions of the two different cultural groups, highlighting reciprocal principal–teacher influences and elucidating a cultural discourse concerning a principal’s perceived masculinity and femininity. It is concluded that the concept of the school principal’s masculinity is a fluid social construct, varying according to cultural–ideological perceptions that affect the principal’s own preferred communication patterns in the school. Since both masculine and feminine qualities are needed for effective education leadership, a policy advocating employment of female mentors for newly appointed principals, in order to give voice to female qualities in principalship, is strongly recommended.
Self-injury is commonly reported to be primarily a female experience and rare among males. However, contemporary research suggests that this may not be the case and that male self-injury may be equally common but less recognized. I suggest that the invisibility of male self-injury results from the structures of normative gender that define "mental illness," vulnerability, and distress behaviors through traditional masculinity and femininity. These structures impede the recognition of male self-injury and mitigate against the provision of appropriate support and male help-seeking. In this article, I focus in depth on the experiences of three men who participated in a small-scale qualitative research project exploring self-injury from a participant-centered ethos. This provides a step toward redressing the silence regarding male self-injury and exploring the issues that emerge from attending to male experiences. It also highlights the need for further gender sensitive research, theory, and practice.
Context: Gender norms influence unintended pregnancy, maternal health, HIV/AIDS infection, and act as barriers to reproductive health services. The Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale has been used widely in programs and research in African settings, but it has yet to be statistically validated.Method: We examined the internal and external validity of the Inequitable Gender Norms (IGN) subscale of the GEM scale in Tanzania and Ghana using a two-step, mixed-method process. Confirmatory factor analysis tested the internal validity of the subscale and regression tests identified associations between the IGN scale and several HIV risk-related variables.Results: The IGN scale was shown to be a useful measure of gender norms in both countries. Excluding two questions that measured attitudes toward homosexuality, the scale met the hypothesized single factor structure. Furthermore, the IGN scores were significantly associated with several HIV risk variables in both samples.Conclusions: The IGN scale is a robust measure of gender norms in these African countries. However, the role of attitudes toward homosexuality as a contributor to gender norms measurement needs further exploration. Our analyses provide a basis for using the IGN scale to provide a contextualized understanding of men’s perceptions of gender norms and to evaluate programs focused more equitable gender norms. We are aware of only one other measure of gender norms that has been statistically validated in the African Context.
Girth & Mirth (G&M) is a social group for big gay men who face exclusion and discrimination from both mainstream and gay communities. Based on extensive ethnographic research and interview data, we consider a variety of the group’s activities, including gatherings at coffeehouses, participation in a gay pride parade, and a national carnivalesque weekend retreat. The group engages in performances that are complicit with both heteronormative gender practices and normative gay men’s practices and that reinscribe capitalist commodified desires. This exploration of the full range of G&M’s activities, from the everyday to the carnivalesque, provides an opportunity to examine how a stigmatized group negotiates visible and less visible forms of discrimination through a playful reconfiguration of heteronormative masculine performances.
Like other visible characteristics such as skin color, gender, or age, body size is a diffuse status characteristic that impacts perceptions, interactions, and social outcomes. Studies demonstrate that individuals hold preconceived notions about what it means to be fat and document a long list of negative stereotypes associated with fat individuals, including laziness, unintelligence, and incompetence. Such perceptions have consequences for employment, including decisions about hiring, promotion, compensation, and dismissal. In this article, we examine how body size and race interact to affect individuals’ perceptions of success, competence, health, laziness, and masculinity. Based on undergraduate students’ ratings of photographs of men, our findings demonstrate significant differences between evaluations of black and white men based on body size. Thin white men are perceived to be more intelligent, more successful, and more competent than their thin black counterparts. However, these results reverse when the men are overweight: overweight black men are seen as more intelligent and more competent than overweight white men. They are also seen as more successful and hardworking and more masculine. These results suggest that the stigma of body size differently impacts black and white men; individuals judge overweight white men more negatively than overweight black men. We discuss two possible explanations for these findings: black threat neutralization and race-based attribution theory.
This article uses the proverb "nobody loves a fat man" to examine the interplay between representations of masculinity, physique, and "appetite" in American culture during the first half of the twentieth century, with special attention to depictions of fat characters in Hollywood thrillers designated as "film noir." By emphasizing how fluidly the concept of "appetite" facilitated connections between the sexual and the culinary, it argues that fat criminals in film noir embody long-standing yet contradictory ideas about manhood, consumption, and desire. To support this claim, the article (1) explicates film noir as a site for examining the instability of masculinity; (2) probes the historical background to perceptions of fat males as weak, impulsive, and perverse; (3) examines representations of fat criminals in select films noirs; and (4) reveals cinematic instances where the virtues of male domesticity smoothed out the perceived incongruence between manhood and fatness.
We use data from the Midlife Development in the United States study to examine how sexual satisfaction, frequency, and number of partners are associated with men’s body weight. We consider five body weight categories (underweight, normal, overweight, obese I, and obese II/III), and control for potential explanatory factors including demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, health, perceived stigmatization, and adolescent weight. Obese II/III men report significantly less sexual satisfaction and less frequent sexual activity, and a greater likelihood of having no sex partner compared to normal weight men. Physical and mental health conditions partially account for obese II/III men’s less satisfying and less frequent sex. However, the deleterious effects of obesity are suppressed by youthful weight. Obese II/III men are more likely to have been overweight adolescents, an attribute associated with more frequent and satisfying sex in adulthood. We discuss implications for the study of masculinities, and the ways that bodies and their symbolic meanings can shape men’s sexual lives.
In the current sociopolitical context, the lean, muscular body has come to epitomize masculine health and beauty. Not all boys and young men, however, unequivocally subscribe to dominant constructions that position fatness as unhealthy and unattractive. Using qualitative inquiry with thirty-two "skinny" or "normal"-bodied young men (thirteen to fifteen years of age), I demonstrate that fat talk is a prominent resource through which "normal" masculine embodiment is achieved. More specifically, I reveal that sociocultural positioning influences how young men take up, make sense of, and articulate constructions of fatness and demonstrate how such articulations function in the materialization of their "normal" embodied subjectivities. I also examine how fat masculinities operate differently within diverse emplaced contexts and in relation to distinct discursive communities. Such a line of investigation I argue helps to reveal the ways in which power relations of privilege and oppression are performatively embodied in everyday contexts.
As researchers consider the "problem" of men’s health-related help-seeking, more limited attention has been devoted to gender dynamics in how men with cancer work with lay and professional supports during illness. This article helps address that gap by presenting a substantive theory of men’s help-seeking in the context of cancer. Developed using a grounded theory methodology engaging thirty men, results indicate that as men experienced cancer as a "biographical disruption" they used help-seeking to both resist and adapt to illness-related identity threats. "Help-seeking with a strong back" allowed men to build resources important to resisting shifts. In contrast, "help-seeking with a soft front" enabled men to obtain help to acknowledge and adapt to disruptions. Although both forms of help-seeking had value, most men experienced help-seeking with a strong back as unproblematic and consistent with masculine ideals, while help-seeking with a soft front was less anticipated, less welcomed, and less comfortable amid gendered norms discouraging expressions of vulnerability.
Scholarship in political communication and gender studies notes that concepts of presidential leadership and masculinity are deeply entwined in one another. Work is needed, though, on how performances of masculinity allow for the accrual of what we call masculinity capital, a linguistic form of masculinity that seems to become particularly significant and useful during times of threat and crisis in the United States. With this in mind, we undertook a content analysis to examine speeches from the 2004 presidential conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties in order to see how masculinity was discursively constructed as well as strategically employed. Our analysis indicates that public constructions of dominant masculinity were used by both political parties in order to shape party identity, and that a construction of hegemonic masculinity, which emasculated opponents by connecting them to femininity, was used by the Republican Party.
Young men are considered to have power and to be powerful in many social settings and in particular within the realm of sexual relations. This article details research that directly asks young men how they perceive, interact with, and deploy power within intimate heterosexual relationships. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 Canadian-based young men (aged 17-22 years) to explore how power was understood and enacted within their intimate heterosexual relationships. A social constructionist gendered analysis was used to inductively derive themes and situate the experiences of the participants within societal discourses of hegemonic masculinities and gender regimes. Power within relationships was most often described as operating equitably, with a few participants describing the deployment of power in coercive/controlling ways. Results reveal that the use of power by men can be understood as challenging or endorsing hegemonic masculinities and traditional heterosexual gender regimes. By including young men's voices in such discussions, our research contributes important understandings and some traction towards describing what might constitute more equitable gender and power relations.
This article examines religious practices in the United States, which govern modesty and other dress norms for men. I focus both on the spaces within which they most collide with regulatory regimes of the state and the legal implications of these norms, particularly for observant Muslim men. Undergirding the research are those "gender equality" claims made by many religious adherents, that men are required to maintain proper modesty norms just as are women. Also undergirding the research is the extensive anti-Islam bias in American culture today. The spaces within which men’s religiously proscribed dress and grooming norms are most at issue—indicated by First Amendment legal challenges to rights of religious practice—are primarily those state-controlled, total institutions Goffman describes, such as in the military and prisons. The implications of gendered modesty norms are important, as state control over religious expression in prisons, for example, is much more difficult to contest than in other spaces, although this depends entirely on who is doing the contesting and within which religious context. In American society today — and particularly within the context of growing Islamaphobia following the 9/11 attacks — the implications are greatest for those men practicing "prison Islam."
This study (N = 911) investigated how exposure to sexualizing prime-time television programs, music television, men’s magazines, and pornographic websites was related to the internalization of appearance ideals, self-objectification, and body surveillance among adolescent boys. A structural equation model showed direct relationships between exposure to sexualizing television and pornographic websites and the internalization of appearance ideals. Indirect relationships between these types of sexualizing media, and self-objectification and body surveillance through the internalization of appearance ideals were also reported. A direct relationship with self-objectification was only found for sexualizing pornographic websites. Discussion warns attention for adolescent boys at risk of sexualization.