What Is Hegemonic Masculinity?

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In this paper, I argue that while sexual violence is arguably the monopoly of men, it is culturally cultivated rather than biologically determined. Consistent with the concept of Hegemonic Masculinity which theorises male domination of other males and subordination of females (Connell, 2005), I assert that rape is particularly rampant in societies where sexual violence is an effective means of attaining this status quo. Thus when rape is institutionalised in the context of war where masculinity is measured by the ability and willingness to assert violence upon the enemy, rape becomes rampant because it is not only condoned but authorised (Price, 2001). I then debunk the claims of biological determinism that men are inherently predisposed to rape in order to ensure reproductive continuity (Knauft, 1991) by highlighting that victims of non-consensual sexual penetration are often males, children and post-menopausal women through whom reproduction cannot occur. Thus, rape does not demonstrate biological propensity but rather societal pursuit of male dominance. I conclude that since the occurrence of rape is consistently higher in more patriarchal societies, the issue of rape is more deep-rooted than isolated cases of unregulated male testosterone or criminality but it is rather the by-product of cultural legitimisation of male sexual violence.
Hegemonic Masculinity
The prevalence of rape can be attributed to the pursuit of hegemonic masculinity insofar as a means of attaining and maintaining power over females and other males. Given cultural values that are conducive to male sexual violence, men enact violence in order to ensure gender dominance within their specific society (Connell, Pg. 840). A cultural value that...

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...nder-egalitarian societies and rampant in patriarchal societies, I conclude sexual violence is a means of asserting power such that weakening women enforces strength of men. This power struggle is becomes more potent when legitimized by the state in warfare and the penal code that exempts men from accountability for their sexually predatory crimes. Thus, the inconsistencies of the occurrence of rape across different societies suggest that male sexual violence is not inborn and universal. While evolutionary advocates argue that male predisposition to achieving power is innate, they disregard the agency of choice entirely. I contend that cultural realities and not biological urges determine whether a man enacts violence. Thus, there are faultlines in our culture that enable rapists to commit their crime. By identifying these flaws, rape can be eliminated from society.
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