Essay about Hegemonic Masculinity : Masculinity And Masculinity

Essay about Hegemonic Masculinity : Masculinity And Masculinity

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This ideal masculine/male body is often muscular, lean, and strong and many men try to measure up. There is generally one accepted masculinity that all men should live up to, known as hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is the widely accepted, socially dominating masculine ideal that is often White, Western, and well-educated, middle class, breadwinning, and strong, yet lean (Baron, 2006; Wienke 1998). The reason hegemonic masculinity is embodied as a muscular and lean man is because this body type gives the impression of strength, hard work and productivity, responsibility, and above all, power (Baron, 2006; Shaw & Tan, 2014; Wienke, 1998). Images of this ideal body type are plastered all over the media, with entire magazines dedicated to perfecting men’s bodies such as Men’s Health, and men’s bodies are increasingly used to sell products to both men and women (Ricciardelli, Clow, & White, 2010; Shaw & Tan, 2014). The ideal masculinity as strong and muscular is being sold increasingly and convincingly as the norm. Many men try to fit the mold of the perfect body that they see everywhere. Trying to fit this mold is to their demise because in reality, few people can live up to this expectation. However, the unrealistic expectations don’t stop them from trying.
Men try to change their body and thus their appearance of masculinity, but if they don’t measure up, they have to express masculinity in other, more damaging ways. Some men excessively weightlift, others diet, some diet and exercise, and these men are able to conform, at least physically, to the standard. Men who cannot meet physical standards overcompensate for this lack of physical strength and power by displaying and embodying masculinity through anger or violen...

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...rtisements. Caitlyn Jenner’s cover of Vanity Fair in 2015 started conversations about what it means to be transgender and in what ways femininity and masculinity can be expressed. This was a huge step in mainstream media and coverage of gender and body issues. However, these conversations are easily complicated by gender and race. We don’t hear or see much from transgender men in magazines, and Laverne Cox, a black transgender woman, was on TIME magazine in 2014, but there wasn’t nearly as much buzz about Cox’s cover. Despite changes and progress, we are not “there” yet. Despite increased representation of different bodies and genders, portrayals of male dominance and hegemonic masculinity persist. Men and women are still being hurt physically, emotionally, and psychologically because of bodily insecurities based on unattainable standards perpetuated by print media.

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