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University of Waterloo
Women's Studies
WS 102
Tina Davidson

WS 102 MASCULINITY MARCH 11 Masculinity and femininity are dichotomous  Masculinity only exists because of femininity, need the opposite to understand. They are defined by each other. Ex. Men are strong, women are weak  Masculinity are defined by what women are not, should not, and do not Masculinity is constructed through a learning process like femininity  Just as heterosexuality is normal and unremarkable, therefore not studied, it is just like masculinity. Men have dominated public realm, so their experiences are marked as the human experience. Studying masculinity contributes towards gender studies. The Biology of Masculinity - Possessing a y chromosome, penis - Relative body size [changes from ethnic groups] - “Biology as gender”: biology dictates who you are, and how you fit in the world So what is Masculinity? - Like any other cultural construction, there is a context: means different things to different people - Meaningless without femininity, contrasts - Mass media plays important role in maintaining, studying, establishing popular ideals of masculinity  Men can support themselves financially, heterosexual, tall, strong, abs  Politicians, actors, athletes try to achieve the ideal - Behavior/actions/characteristics are caused by masculinity - “Essentialist definitions”: pick a particular aspect that defines masculinity. Focus on an essence.  Masculinity is aggressive - “Positivist definitions”:
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