When Arthur Schlesinger wrote the essay The Crisis of American Masculinity in 1958 he articulated a set of concerns about what masculinity is which ushered in a way of thinking about masculinity that has informed debate since then. This is the idea that masculinity is in ‘crisis’ because perceived ‘traditional’ male roles are no longer respected or required.
The concept of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ is a key idea in this area. This is the notion that gender inequality is maintained through ideals of a culturally dominant (hegemonic) form of masculinity: the strong, brave, aggressive, rational man. In addition heterosexual masculinity is defined in opposition to both femininity and gay masculinity. Concerns in this area have focused on the potential impact of a ‘crisis’ of masculinity on men; upon perceived increasing sexualization of men’s bodies and pressures around body image for men; and on continued sexism in media aimed at men, for example in ‘lads mags’.
- Hegemonic representations of men
- Intersections with class, race, age and sexuality
- Sexualization of men
- Breadth of representations of men
- Sexism in media aimed at men
182. Schlesinger Jr, A. (1958). The Crisis of American Masculinity. Esquire, November, 63-65.
183. Connell, R. W., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005). Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept. Gender & Society, 19(6), 829-859.
184. Gough, B., & Edwards, G. (1998), The beer talking: four lads, a carry out and the reproduction of masculinities. The Sociological Review, 46(3), 409-435.