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Category Archives: Masculinities

Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities

Kronsell, A. (2015). “Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities: Gender Path Dependence in EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy.” Men and Masculinities.
This article explores the European Union (EU)’s Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) through a framework based on feminist institutional theory that highlights the durability in the dynamics of gender relations. Path dependency based on historic features of military institutions’ strict sex division based on gender war roles has influenced the development of different CSDP bodies. The CSDP is sexed because male bodies dominate the organizations studied, yet this remains invisible through normalization. A dominant EU hierarchical military masculinity is institutionalized in the EU’s Military Committee, combat heterosexual masculinity in the Battle groups, and EU protector masculinity in the EU Training missions. The CSDP embodies different types of military masculinities; the relations between them are important for the reproduction of the gender order through a gendered logic of appropriateness. Yet, this too is invisible as part of the informal aspects of organizations. While women’s bodies are written out of the CSDP, the construction of femininity in relation to the protector/protected binary is central to it. Two protected femininities are read in the texts. The vulnerable femininity of women in conflict areas is important for how the CSDP understands itself in relation to gender mainstreaming. In relation to the vulnerable femininity, CSDP constructs an EU protector masculinity, in turn, set against an aggressive violent masculinity in the areas where missions are deployed. Women’s bodies are absent from the CSDP and they lack agency but are nevertheless associated with a protected femininity.

Masculinities at the Margins of “Middle Adulthood”

Bartholomaeus, C. and A. Tarrant (2015). “Masculinities at the Margins of “Middle Adulthood”: What a Consideration of Young Age and Old Age Offers Masculinities Theorizing.” Men and Masculinities.
The intersections of masculinities and age have attracted relatively little theorizing. This article examines the theoretical implications of young/old age and masculinities by bringing together two bodies of literature (young age and masculinities and old age and masculinities) and two research studies (one with pre-teenage school students in Australia and one with grandfathers in the United Kingdom). We focus on two key themes: caring practices and relations and the divide between physical activity and intellectual pursuits. Drawing on these themes, we show how age allows for gender transgressions and practices of gender equality and how young boys and old men can also uphold a discourse of hegemonic masculinity, despite age-related tensions. We conclude by arguing that a consideration of age has much to offer in terms of thinking about how gender is socially constructed and illuminates the complex power relations of age and gender categories.

Performing Hypermasculinity: Experiences with Confined Young Offenders

Bengtsson, T. T. (2015). “Performing Hypermasculinity: Experiences with Confined Young Offenders.” Men and Masculinities.
In this article, young people’s hypermasculine performances of gender in a Danish institution for young offenders are analyzed. Through the ethnographic method of detailed observations of two situations of young people, one male and one female, entering an institution for young offenders, it is demonstrated that hypermasculinity is created as a collective frame of meaning creating both possibilities and restraints in concrete situations. Hypermasculinity is often discussed in relation to criminality as an intensification of hegemonic understandings of what constitutes a “real man” and thus as part of male offender’s identity formation. In this article, the relational analysis shows that hypermasculinity is not alone to be understood as the expression of the individual young person’s performances but rather as the dominating institutional frame guiding all gender performances. The observed hypermasculine frame comprises notions of a real man based on performances of overt sexuality, the willingness to commit violence, and the limitation of subversive performances.

“I Don’t Need a Shotgun, Just a Look”: Representing Manhood in Secular and Religious Magazines

Sumerau, J. E., et al. (2014). “I Don’t Need a Shotgun, Just a Look”: Representing Manhood in Secular and Religious Magazines. Men and Masculinities.
In this article, we examine gender representations in secular and religious media. Based on comparative content analysis of six secular and religious magazines, we analyze how both types of media represented manhood in ways that facilitate the elevation of men at the expense of women. Specifically, we demonstrate how religious and secular magazines represented fatherly and spousal manhood by emphasizing inherent gender differences, male leadership, protection and control, and reasons to excuse men for failing to live up to familial and marital expectations. In conclusion, we draw out implications for understanding the importance of comparative analyses of secular and religious media, the insights that such analyses provide for the study of contemporary secular and religious dynamics, and the reproduction of gender inequalities.

New Ways of Being a Man: “Positive” Hegemonic Masculinity in Meditation-based Communities of Practice.

Lomas, T., et al. (2015). “New Ways of Being a Man: “Positive” Hegemonic Masculinity in Meditation-based Communities of Practice.” Men and Masculinities.
Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity is often reduced to a singular construct, consisting of “toxic” traits viewed as detrimental to well-being. However, the concept allows for variation in hegemony, including the possibility of forms more conducive to well-being. Through in-depth interviews with thirty male meditators in the United Kingdom, we explored the social dimensions of meditation practice to examine its potential implications for well-being. Most participants became involved with communities of practice centered on meditation that promoted new local hegemonies, and these included ideals experienced as conducive to well-being, like abstinence. However, social processes associated with hegemony, like hierarchy and marginalization, were not overturned. Moreover, participants faced challenges enacting new practices in relation to the broader system of hegemonic masculinity outside these communities, reporting censure. Our findings are cautionary for professionals seeking to encourage well-being behaviors: that is, there is potential for adaptation in men, yet complex social processes influence this change.

Homophobia and Patriarchy in Nicaragua: A Few Ideas to Start a Debate

Welsh, P. (2014). “Homophobia and Patriarchy in Nicaragua: A Few Ideas to Start a Debate.” IDS Bulletin 45(1): 39-45.
Reflecting on a 25-year-old study on cultural constructions of same-sex sexual relations between men in Nicaragua, which described a submissive–dominant – or cochón–cochonero – model, this article contrasts this notion with more recent gay identities that have emerged in urban Nicaragua in particular, and which now coexist alongside the more traditional model. Despite many LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) groups having emerged in the country, patriarchy is proving resilient and adaptive in surprising ways. Although important victories have been achieved on a global and national scale, culturally and legislatively, in relation to equal rights for LGBT people, this article argues that such advances do not necessarily mean that the intensely andocentric character of patriarchy itself has been significantly challenged or altered. In the struggle for equal rights for all, the models and dynamics of patriarchal power and how they manifest themselves within LGBT organisations, families and relations must also be addressed … and undressed.

The Complex Associations Between Conforming to Masculine Norms and Religiousness in Men

Ward, A. Z. and S. W. Cook (2011). “The Complex Associations Between Conforming to Masculine Norms and Religiousness in Men.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 12(1): 42-54.
This study sought to challenge the common conclusion that masculinity is only associated with decreased religiousness in men. The current investigation predicted more complex associations among these constructs, where both positive and negative associations would exist between masculinity and religiousness. To examine this, 154 male undergraduates completed a comprehensive measure of 11 masculine norms and measures of 5 aspects of religiousness: religious commitment; intrinsic, extrinsic, and quest religious motivations; and religious fundamentalism. Results indicated that both positive and negative associations exist between masculinity and religiousness. Three aspects of traditional masculinity (winning, power over women, and disdain for homosexuals) were positively correlated with various aspects of religiousness, and 3 aspects of traditional masculinity (emotional control, violence, and playboy) were negatively associated with various aspects of religiousness. Furthermore, 3 significant canonical functions were interpreted linking various aspects of masculinity to (a) traditional religiousness, (b) nondogmatic religiousness, and (c) both intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness.

Men, Militaries and Civilian Societies in Interaction

Tallberg, T., et al. (2008). “Men, Militaries and Civilian Societies in Interaction.” Norma Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 3(2): 85-98.
This article introduces new approaches to gendered civil-military relations. It starts with the identification of three currents in contemporary research on men, militaries and civilian societies: war and militaries have for a long time been analyzed both within studies on men and masculinities and in Feminist International Relations. New Military History, involving social and cultural histories of war, has refocused the interest of military history towards gender and civil-military junctions. They do not, however, tend to theorize and conceptualize civil-military relations on the macro level of political and democratic processes, decision-making and security policies. This is done in the realm of more traditional political science and civil-military relations theory. This article proposes a combination of the analysis of men and masculinities with civil-military relations theory. It presents a brief outline of civil-military relation theory and discusses the current state of theory in the context of some contemporary developments of security and defence systems in the Nordic countries (international military operations, conscription and outsourcing). The article ends with five suggestions for future directions in studying men, militaries and civilian societies; (i) an increase of the attention given to the experiences of men in and around war and militaries, (ii) a need for re-analysis of data and studies that have dealt with men without comprehending them as gendered beings, (iii) re-focusing attention towards gendered militarised encounters in the different contexts of conflicts and crises, (iv) highlighting the gendering of military points of the gendered nature of violence, (v) an analysis of men and civil-military encounters in the context
of the gender system should examine the construction of masculinities outside and resistant to the man-soldier-military-war tangle.

I Don’t Need a Shotgun, Just a Look: Representing Manhood in Secular and Religious Magazines

Sumerau, J. E., et al. (2014). “I Don’t Need a Shotgun, Just a Look: Representing Manhood in Secular and Religious Magazines.” Men and Masculinities.
In this article, we examine gender representations in secular and religious media. Based on comparative content analysis of six secular and religious magazines, we analyze how both types of media represented manhood in ways that facilitate the elevation of men at the expense of women. Specifically, we demonstrate how religious and secular magazines represented fatherly and spousal manhood by emphasizing inherent gender differences, male leadership, protection and control, and reasons to excuse men for failing to live up to familial and marital expectations. In conclusion, we draw out implications for understanding the importance of comparative analyses of secular and religious media, the insights that such analyses provide for the study of contemporary secular and religious dynamics, and the reproduction of gender inequalities.

Money has More Weight than the Man: Masculinities in the Marriages of Angolan War Veterans

Spall, J. (2014). “Money has More Weight than the Man: Masculinities in the Marriages of Angolan War Veterans.” IDS Bulletin 45(1): 11-19.
This article discusses how male Angolan war veterans navigated the sudden shift from the rigours of military discipline to life in a civilian society they no longer recognised, where money had become a dominant social value. Based on a year of participant observation and interviews with war veterans in the city of Huambo, it traces their life histories and their post-war struggles to develop the necessary creativity and initiative to make a profit in a disordered, war-torn economy, where masculine status and authority had come to depend crucially on monetary income. I analyse their reaction to the crumbling of the relative certainties of the patriarchal orders of both pre-war society and military life, and the associated anxieties around living up to a senior masculine archetype of the wise, authoritative provider whilst attempting to ensure that their wives’ behaviour conformed to the family model that accompanies this archetype.