HIST 3020 - January 28, 2014
What does it mean to be a man today?
Usually the opposite of what it means to be a woman – masculinity is generally framed in
opposition to femininity or to homosexuality
Strong, reasonable, rational, tough, economically independent, not emotional, powerful,
detached, reserved, in control, logical, etc.
Masculinity in opposition to childhood
Becoming a man as respecting women
Masculinity as being able to let go of the macho attitude and be comfortable with emotions and
Becoming Men: Outline
Modes of Acculturation
- Learning to behave
- Orders of society in the medieval world
- Changes in groups and expectations 1000-1650
Boyhood to Manhood
- Did childhood exist?
- Ages of men
- Legal transition points
- Social transition points
What forces acted to shape understandings of proper behaviour?
Different practices of socialization resulted in different behaviour for men and women
Timelines and life-stages varied dramatically. Things that are thought of as timeless are in fact
How to we learn to behave?
School, parents, peer groups, friends, family, inanimate objects that are provided, clothing etc.
Who determines what behaviour is appropriate?
Where do we get these models from? Who determines what society values?
Religion, social hierarchy, government,
The group that is most culturally dominant and at the top of the hierarchy determines what
behaviour is most valued
These behaviours will reinforce the dominant group’s power Medieval society was made up of three distinct groups:
Those who pray, those who fight and those who work
Most of the society was made up of those who work but those who prayed and those who
fought were the ones who decided which behaviours were valued
1086 – 2 million
Estimated high of nearly 5 million
1377 – 2.5-3 million
1300s – London 40 000 people
1650 – 4.5 million
16 Century – 500 000
1650s – 1 million
15 Century – 200 000
1650 – 400 000
Politically and culturally dominant groups were obviously small; the populations in general were
Orders of Medieval Society
Those why Prayed
1000 – mid 1500s
- Village priests to monks to archbishops
- Largely deriving from the lower aristocracy and above
- Opportunity for social advancement
- Church held ¼ of lands in the British Isles – this wasn’t held by individuals but rather the
church as a whole
- Cambridge 1231, Oxford 1254, St Andrews 1413, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen 1495
- Open only to boys and men and a particular version of masculinity was valued - Homosocial environment
o Logic and restraint as central to masculinity – taught at the universities – these
qualities separated men from beasts as well as men from women
o Violence and sexual activity was prominent – this shows us that perhaps this was
a way to act out against the clerics –
o Could enter as early as 12-14, 16-17 was the average age
Mid 16 C to 1650
- 1530s – dissolution of monasteries in England and Wales under Henry VIII
- 1560s – earl