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Hegemonic Masculinity

Donald P. Levy


Developed in the 1980s ( Carrigan et al. 1985 ) to provide a relational and socially constructed conception of men and masculinities, the term hegemonic masculinity describes the hierarchical interaction between multiple masculinities and explains how some men make it appear normal and necessary that they dominate most women and other men ( Connell 1987 ). Hegemonic masculinity describes a position in the system of gender relations, the system itself, and the current ideology that serves to reproduce masculine domination. In presenting the term, Connell demonstrates the essentialistic, ahistorical, and normative liabilities in previous men's studies scholarship. In the concept of hegemonic masculinity Connell joins the constructivist view of “doing gender” ( West & Zimmerman 1987 ) with insights drawn from feminist scholars who described the ways in which gender relations shape social structures ( Hartsock 1983 ). Connell seeks to explain how some men succeed in making it appear normal, natural, and necessary for them to enjoy power over other men and most women; why it is that so many men and women participate willingly in their own oppression; and how resistance to hegemonic masculinity can promote gender justice. Connell posits four types of masculinities, more as positions in relation to one another than as personality types: hegemonic, complicit, subordinated, and marginalized. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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