What Is Hegemonic Masculinity And Femininity?

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While we tend to look at the world in a gendered fashion, there are differences in what’s considered masculine and feminine. In addition to varying from person to person, the concepts of masculinity and femininity also vary across time periods, across different cultures, and even across the span of an individual’s life. Kimmel pluralizes these terms to “acknowledge that masculinity and femininity mean different things to different groups of people at different times” (Kimmel; 10). He goes on further to reference sociologist R. W. Connell’s explanation of hegemonic masculinity, which states that it is “constructed in relation to various subordinated masculinities as well as in relation to women” (Kimmel; 10). In an article by Connell, he describes…show more content…
In one of our class discussions on hegemonic masculinity, we attempted to define a general list of characteristics or behaviors that one should have in order to attain this ideal. However, there was no consensus on these qualities. Frequently, the qualities that we would suggest would be those that were the opposite of qualities associated with women. For example, if we would categorize being emotional as a trait assigned to women, we would assign the trait of being impassive to men. This would also occur when we considered which behaviors would be considered masculine. While we assumed women would perform work inside of the house, we assigned men to work outside of the house, doing activities such as maintaining the yard or fixing the car. Most of, if not all of, the qualities and behaviors we assigned as being a part of hegemonic masculinity perpetuated the idea of gender inequality. When we assumed that those characteristics would be considered aspects of hegemonic masculinity, we restricted them to only being assigned to men because if a woman could possess those characteristics, it wouldn’t be considered a masculine aspect. This also explains how hegemonic masculinity can perpetuate

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