Essay on Masculinity and Race

Essay on Masculinity and Race

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Masculinity and Race


Historically, masculinity in the United States has been constructed as being White Protestant Anglo-Saxon, furthermore heterosexual and in charge of all matters, and this definition sets standards against which other men are measured an evaluated. Michael Kimmel provides a good definition:

[…], Young, married, white, urban heterosexual, Protestant father of college education, fully employed, of good complexion, weight and height and a recent record in sports(271).

This definition refers to a so-called „hegemonic masculinity“ because it describes a man of power, in power and with power(272).
Racially and ethnically other men have always been equated with characteristics that symbolically effeminate and disempower them. Those other men are African Americans and Asian Americans as well as Latinos and Native Americans, which are not my concern in this essay. I want to argue that race and masculinity cannot be regarded as distinct matters but are closely linked and intertwined with each other because the hegemonic masculinity by definition is only valid for Caucasians and also constructed by them. Ethnically and racially other men can never fully become masculine by that definition, they have to content themselves with the role of a marginal other. To emphasize the importance and historical significance I like to quote Dollimore:

„No consideration of cultural and/or racial difference should ever neglect the sheer negativity, evil and inferiority with which „the other“ of such differences has been associated throughout history“ (Dollimore 18) .

These Others have the opportunity approach masculinity...


... middle of paper ...


...a. Nevertheless, the period of the „Blaxploitation“ era was an exception but it was mainly due to fiscal problems in Hollywood and those characters always floated in a hyper-reality and did things that could be attributed to superheroes more than to human beings.

List of works cited:

Brod, Harry and Michael Kaufmann, ed. . Theorizing Masculinities: Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity. Michael S. Kimmel . Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications , 1994 .

Ross, J. Steven, ed. . Movies and American Society. From Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film. Ed Guerrero . Oxford / Malden : Blackwell Publishers , 2002

Stecopoulos, Harry and Michael Uebel, ed. . Race and the Subject of masculinities: Desire and Difference. Jonathan Dollimore . Durham and London : Duke University Press , 1997

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