Essay on The Social Construction of Masculinity

Essay on The Social Construction of Masculinity

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Sex and gender are attributes to our identity. Sex describes the physical and biological factors we are born with, for example male or female genitalia, as quoted from blackadder “A boy without a winkle is a girl” (Elton and Curtis 1998). Whether we have oestrogen or testosterone hormones also tells us if we are man or woman. Gender however is in relation to stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, and expectations of what characteristics men or women should portray. Anyone given the opportunity to describe men, they would say words like dominant, non emotional, macho, aggressive, and to be the provider and protector of his family. This essay sets out to examine if masculinity is socially constructed and to do this the theories of gender, media, historical societies and even sexuality will be analysed throughout.
Sigmund Freud’s theory of masculinity lies with the presence of male genetalia and a concept that ‘anatomy is destiny’ (2013), leading to a biological determinism theory and this theory has been supported by Talcott Parsons (2013), a functionalist theorist. Parsons believes that alongside the natural element of gender identities, males and females have scripts attached to their sexes and that these scripts are learnt through appropriate socialisation. Parsons believes masculine roles are influenced onto boys through positive persuasive language for example ‘what a big strong boy you are’ (Bown, 2013). Raewyn Connell (2002) explains that typically boys are not expected or taught to take care of their appearance; however toughness and control are encouraged to be primary personality traits. Boys are enticed into competitive sports like football and basketball by a minimum of both school and media, with the promise of gai...


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...ll, R., (2002), Cited in Sociology of Gender, Bown, D., (2013:5), Unpublished.
Cornwall, A., & Lindisfarne, N., (1994, p13 & 105), Dislocating Masculinity, London, Routledge.
Elton & Curtis, (1998), Cited in Sociology of Gender, Bown, D., (2013:7), Unpublished.
Francis, B., (2011), Cited in Sociology of Gender, Bown, D., (2013:10), Unpublished.
Freud, S., (2013), Cited in Sociology of Gender, Bown, D. (2013:7), Unpublished.
Kimmel, M., (1994), Masculinity as homophobia, http://faculty.ucc.edu/psysoc-stokes/masculinity.pdf [accessed 30 Oct 2013]
Let toys be toys, (2013), About the Campaign, http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/about-2/ [accessed 19 Nov 2013]
Parsons, T., (2013), Cited in Sociology of Gender, Bown, D., (2013:9), Unpublished.
Sarkeesian, A., (2010), You Tube, Toy ads and learning gender, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn_lJoN6PI [Accessed 31 Oct 2013]

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