Feminism and Masculinity Essay

Feminism and Masculinity Essay

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In contemporary society, hegemonic masculinity is defined by physical strength and boldness, heterosexuality, economic independence, authority over women and other men, and an interest in sexual relationships. While most men do not embody all of these qualities, society supports hegemonic masculinity within all its institutions, including the educational institute, the religious institute and other institutes which form the ideological state apparatus.

Standards of masculinity vary from time to time, from culture to culture. However, masculinity always defines itself as superior and different from femininity. For example, gay men and househusbands exemplify "subordinate" masculinities in our culture. They are not considered to be "real men". And yet, many still support hegemonic masculinity, for example, men being the main breadwinner for the family. Easthope (1990) states that, “masculinity tries to stay invisible by passing itself off as normal and universal” (Easthope, 1990: 1). The notion of masculinity tries to become a norm in society so then its counterpart, femininity is seen as different and deviant.

Against this backdrop, femininity is constructed around the adaptation to male power. Its central feature is attractiveness to men, which includes physical appearance, suppression of "power", and nurturance of children, heterosexuality, sexual availability, and sociability. Masculinity and femininity are societal euphemisms for male dominance and female subordinat...

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