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Analysis of Connel’s Theory of Hegemonic Masculinity

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In today’s society it takes a lot to grasp the change in how masculinity is “supposed” to be. To be able to truly understand the sort of expectations that men are held to by society there must be a detailed look into what R.W. Connell refers to as “Hegemonic Masculinity” (Connell), it justifies men’s position in society as head of society and puts women second, saying women are supposed to submit to men. The impact it has on men in today’s society is, more than less, changing, but still has a significant place in male masculinity and in a lot of the “norms” we have, such as the man has to be the “breadwinner” of the household, and the women should only take care of the house. We often deamn these beliefs to be true by nature, as soon as a boy becomes a “man” he must go out and become the head of something or show that he is a man by gaining power (Being the head of his household, owning a business, getting wealthy, ect.).

In the text Connell states that Hegemonic masculinity is “a social ascendency achieved in a play of social forces that extends beyond contests of brute power into the organisation of private life and cultural processes.” The one thing that will always be prevalent in the relationship of men and women all over the world is that fact that men will always dominate women. This structural belief that men are over females is the foundation for the term “Hegemonic Masculinity”. “Masculinity is only hegemonic amongst men: no femininity is hegemonic”. This does not mean any kind of violence, it means hegemony in every part of life, Mainly talking about religious practices. For example, wedding vows, they mostly talk about how men will take care of their newly wed wives as if the are too incompetent to take care of themselves because they are women. “The man takes control as the breadwinner and the person in charge of a heterosexual relationship.” (Connell).

Hegemonic Masculinity is publicized at lot in society, mostly in the media, you may see advertisements showing muscular men as the goal of what a man should look like. It tells him that if his mindset isn’t to want to look like that then he isn’t a man, the proceeds to give him the instructions he needs to become the muscular guy on the television. “How a man throws a ball is different to how a woman throws a ball. I didn’t want to throw a ball in front of my dad because i knew it wouldn’t look right, it wouldn’t be like the way a good, strong boy should throw it.” Here Connell tries to interpret the boy’s fear of disappointing his father and the combined sense that his body is unsuitable for a man as a learned social experience. The boy is young but is already fully aware that he isn’t what a man should be, he falls short of his father’s expectations in his head. Because of this, Connell is aware that hegemonic masculinity is a learned behavior.

In movies, another form of media, you see the superheroes, mostly men, as big strong manly guys who saves the world from appending doom, giving the message that men are supposed to imitate these big strong macho men and get through the harsh realities of life unscathed, when in reality life will get to them and that okay, you don’t have to be like these men on the big screens. “Masculinities in Western societies are typically defined by by a specific body reflexive practice: sport, violence, heterosexual performance, and bodybuilding” (Connell pg. 86). One of the biggest societal issues is that fact that women want to be paid the same as men and that simply is not the case in today’s society. “Hegemonic Masculinity can also be seen in our wage structures where men earn more than women and traditionally men achieve the top positions as managers or leaders.” (Connell).

Women try tirelessly to get equal pay, in today’s society, but a lot of the big taxation and welfare policies are still advocates of the belief that males are more important and should get compensated more than women. “Hegemonic Masculinity is evident in all aspects of life, even in housing, where men have designed the house that women clean and traditionally spend much more more time in than men.” (Connell). According to Connell, most of the men in today’s society often benefit from women submitting to them and the home. Taking care of the home is no worry for the man because his wife is the only one that must tend to the house, homely duties like for example, Ironing, cooking and washing clothes, these duties have an unwritten gender rule to them and separates the men and women when it comes to marriage. It is noticeable that the role of men is slowly but surely changing, that actions of men are very different form how men acted 30 years ago, a lot of things that males in the past where doing would not be tolerated in today’s society.

“Traditionally, the man of the family was seen as the breadwinner and the female looked after the children and all duties associated with the household.” (Connell). Because of the many financial challenges in today’s society, the concept of Masculinity has flopped as women are now taking on higher paid jobs and are taking care of themselves rather than in the past that wasn’t accepted. Some men today even have problems trying to find employment and stay home because of it. Women are more educated than men in today’s society as well and that is a big influence on this phenomena.

To conclude, the topic of Hegemonic masculinity has yet to be stable and has a lot more research to go before it is concrete. There are many different aspects to masculinity, gender roles and the simple fact that if women weren’t around we wouldn’t even be studying masculinity. According to Connell, a lot of different masculinities are in existence, even though hegemonic masculinity is the most prevalent one. Hegemonic masculinity affects the behavioral aspects of men in today’s society and still has most men trying to maintain their rein on society. The result of this is the fact that men still must prove to the world and other men that they are just as manly. The way that men cope with the changes in the world is something that a lot of future sociologists will be studying.

In today’s society it takes a lot to grasp the change in how masculinity is “supposed” to be. To be able to truly understand the sort of expectations that men are held to by society there must be a detailed look into what R.W. Connell refers to as “Hegemonic Masculinity” (Connell), it justifies men’s position in society as head of society and puts women second, saying women are supposed to submit to men. The impact it has on men in today’s society is, more than less, changing, but still has a significant place in male masculinity and in a lot of the “norms” we have, such as the man has to be the “breadwinner” of the household, and the women should only take care of the house. We often deamn these beliefs to be true by nature, as soon as a boy becomes a “man” he must go out and become the head of something or show that he is a man by gaining power (Being the head of his household, owning a business, getting wealthy, ect.).

In the text Connell states that Hegemonic masculinity is “a social ascendency achieved in a play of social forces that extends beyond contests of brute power into the organisation of private life and cultural processes.” The one thing that will always be prevalent in the relationship of men and women all over the world is that fact that men will always dominate women. This structural belief that men are over females is the foundation for the term “Hegemonic Masculinity”. “Masculinity is only hegemonic amongst men: no femininity is hegemonic”. This does not mean any kind of violence, it means hegemony in every part of life, Mainly talking about religious practices. For example, wedding vows, they mostly talk about how men will take care of their newly wed wives as if the are too incompetent to take care of themselves because they are women. “The man takes control as the breadwinner and the person in charge of a heterosexual relationship.” (Connell).

Hegemonic Masculinity is publicized at lot in society, mostly in the media, you may see advertisements showing muscular men as the goal of what a man should look like. It tells him that if his mindset isn’t to want to look like that then he isn’t a man, the proceeds to give him the instructions he needs to become the muscular guy on the television. “How a man throws a ball is different to how a woman throws a ball. I didn’t want to throw a ball in front of my dad because i knew it wouldn’t look right, it wouldn’t be like the way a good, strong boy should throw it.” Here Connell tries to interpret the boy’s fear of disappointing his father and the combined sense that his body is unsuitable for a man as a learned social experience. The boy is young but is already fully aware that he isn’t what a man should be, he falls short of his father’s expectations in his head. Because of this, Connell is aware that hegemonic masculinity is a learned behavior.

In movies, another form of media, you see the superheroes, mostly men, as big strong manly guys who saves the world from appending doom, giving the message that men are supposed to imitate these big strong macho men and get through the harsh realities of life unscathed, when in reality life will get to them and that okay, you don’t have to be like these men on the big screens. “Masculinities in Western societies are typically defined by by a specific body reflexive practice: sport, violence, heterosexual performance, and bodybuilding” (Connell pg. 86). One of the biggest societal issues is that fact that women want to be paid the same as men and that simply is not the case in today’s society. “Hegemonic Masculinity can also be seen in our wage structures where men earn more than women and traditionally men achieve the top positions as managers or leaders.” (Connell).

Women try tirelessly to get equal pay, in today’s society, but a lot of the big taxation and welfare policies are still advocates of the belief that males are more important and should get compensated more than women. “Hegemonic Masculinity is evident in all aspects of life, even in housing, where men have designed the house that women clean and traditionally spend much more more time in than men.” (Connell). According to Connell, most of the men in today’s society often benefit from women submitting to them and the home. Taking care of the home is no worry for the man because his wife is the only one that must tend to the house, homely duties like for example, Ironing, cooking and washing clothes, these duties have an unwritten gender rule to them and separates the men and women when it comes to marriage. It is noticeable that the role of men is slowly but surely changing, that actions of men are very different form how men acted 30 years ago, a lot of things that males in the past where doing would not be tolerated in today’s society.

“Traditionally, the man of the family was seen as the breadwinner and the female looked after the children and all duties associated with the household.” (Connell). Because of the many financial challenges in today’s society, the concept of Masculinity has flopped as women are now taking on higher paid jobs and are taking care of themselves rather than in the past that wasn’t accepted. Some men today even have problems trying to find employment and stay home because of it. Women are more educated than men in today’s society as well and that is a big influence on this phenomena.

To conclude, the topic of Hegemonic masculinity has yet to be stable and has a lot more research to go before it is concrete. There are many different aspects to masculinity, gender roles and the simple fact that if women weren’t around we wouldn’t even be studying masculinity. According to Connell, a lot of different masculinities are in existence, even though hegemonic masculinity is the most prevalent one. Hegemonic masculinity affects the behavioral aspects of men in today’s society and still has most men trying to maintain their rein on society. The result of this is the fact that men still must prove to the world and other men that they are just as manly. The way that men cope with the changes in the world is something that a lot of future sociologists will be studying.

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Analysis Of Connel’s Theory Of Hegemonic Masculinity. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-connels-theory-of-hegemonic-masculinity/
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Analysis Of Connel’s Theory Of Hegemonic Masculinity [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2020 Oct 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-connels-theory-of-hegemonic-masculinity/
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