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Hegemonic Masculinity - Essay Example
In the last decade, there has been an increased interest on the issues pertaining to men and boys. Publicly, there have been social movements focussed on the reform or restoration of masculinity, such as the 'mythopoetic' movement, the Million Man March and the Promise Keepers (Messner 1997)…
2000). A popular movement addresses men's problems in relationships, sexuality and identity (Connell, 2000).
Ironically, men remain the principal holders of economic and political power. Men make up a large majority of corporate executives, top professionals, and holders of public office. Worldwide, men held 93% of cabinet-level posts in 1996, and most top positions in international agencies (Gierycz 1999). Men continue to control most technology and most weaponry; with only limited exceptions it is men who staff and control the agencies of force such as armies, police and judicial systems (Connell 2000).
The form of masculinity which is culturally dominant in a given setting is called 'hegemonic masculinity'. 'Hegemonic' denotes a position of cultural authority and leadership, not total dominance; other forms of masculinity persist alongside. The hegemonic form need not be the most common form of masculinity. (This is familiar in school peer groups, for instance, where a small number of highly influential boys are admired by many others who cannot reproduce their performance.) Hegemonic masculinity is, however, highly visible. It is likely to be what casual commentators have noticed when they speak of 'the male role'. Hegemonic masculinity is hegemonic not just in relation to other masculinities, but in relation to the gender order as a whole. It is an expression of the privilege men collectively have over women. ...