Masculine Identity Essay

Masculine Identity Essay

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Masculinity, similarly to other aspects of one’s identity, is being intensively discussed in contemporary society. It has undergone significant development in the last few decades which has been reflected in and accelerated by the media. This essay explores the reasons for this - it refers to historical development where appropriate and discusses the consequences of the fragmentation of male identitities.

The essay starts with a brief discussion of masculinity as a term. It will draw on theories and show how the understanding of the concept changed over time. It then moves to describing...
define terms masculinity, masculinities

If it has been believed that in the past, only one version of masculinity existed, it has theoretical background in the philosophical view of essentialism. Essentialist philosophers argued that every (material) thing has its own (abstract) essence. Essence represented the fixed, unchanging qualities of the object.

When this thinking is applied to the discussion about men, it helps us to understand where the ideas about a “natural” masculinity that is same for all men comes from. If “man” is the physical representation, “masculinity” is the essence that defines him. So for example, if “masculinity” is defined by the society as behaviour that is sexually and physically aggressive, dominant, confident and avoiding the show if emotions, men that do not conform to these qualities are arguably less manly.

John Beynon, Professor in the Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries, argues that this still reflects in “commonsensical assumption that masculinity is a standardized container, fixed by biology, in which all “normal” men are placed, something natural that can be measured in terms of ps...

... middle of paper ...

...n of Males in Teenage Girls' Magazines, Men and Masculinities 08(3), 298-308.

Masterson, A. (2010) "How I Met Your Mother" - Ted Mosby and Barney Stinson - The Leaders of the Show [Online] Available from: Date Accessed: 19/01/2011

Benwell, B., 2003. Masculinity and Men’s Lifestyle Magazines. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Braddock, K. (2010) From Lad to 4D man: The ever-changing face of modern masculinity [Online] Available from: Date Accessed: 22/01/2011

Porter, Ch., 2010. Mr. David Williams, Fanstastic Man, 03 (12), p. 83

Flynn, P., 2010. The Legendary Mr. Bryan Ferry, Fanstastic Man, 03 (12), p. 117

Barnes, J., 2010. The Super Show, Fanstastic Man, 03 (12), p. 160

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