Full Text


Amy Lind

Subject Gender Studies
Sociology » Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Key-Topics feminism, masculinities

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Femininities and masculinities are acquired social identities: as individuals become socialized they develop a gender identity, an understanding of what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” ( Laurie et al. 1999 ). How individuals develop an understanding of their gender identity, including whether or not they fit into these prescribed gender roles, depends upon the context within which they are socialized and how they view themselves in relation to societal gender norms. Class, racial, ethnic, and national factors play heavily into how individuals construct their gender identities and how they are perceived externally ( hooks 2004 ). Gender identities are often naturalized; that is, they rely on a notion of biological difference, “so that ‘natural’ femininity [in a white, European, middle-class context] encompasses, for example, motherhood, being nurturing, a desire for pretty clothes and the exhibition of emotions” ( Laurie et al. 1999 : 3). “Natural” masculinity, in contrast, may encompass fatherhood, acting “tough,” a desire for sports and competition, and hiding emotions ( Connell 1997 ; Thompson 2000 ). In both cases, these constructions of gender identity are based on stereotypes that fall within the range of normative femininities and masculinities. Yet, as many sociologists have pointed out, not all individuals fit within these prescribed norms and as such, masculinities ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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