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Lecture 2

SOC 2104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Hegemonic Masculinity, Masculinity, Invisibility


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2104
Professor
Adolphine Y.Aggor- Boateng
Lecture
2

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Making Gender Visible
Until the 1970s, studies of social life focused only on class and race.
The last 30 years has seen an increasing study of women, gender, and now, men and
masculinity.
Invisibility of masculinity.
oBefore the 1970s, men had the skills to exploit women in society until the waves of
feminism began.
oPrivilege of invisibility: Power is often invisible to those who have it.
Men were the ones in charge of the distribution of resources to society and they
were the ones who assigned roles to genders.
This applies to other groups as well (group entitlement).
Those with privilege may be unaware of the inequality and may become
defensive or angry when confronted with evidence of it.
When families started evolving, we focused on the differences between women and men and the
genders.
oWomen became radical and started speaking up.
Gender and Power
Hegemonic masculinity:
oOnly one version of masculinity operating in a culture is “culturally honored” or
hegemonic; other masculinities are organized under it (hierarchically).
oEmphasizes competition among men for power and dominance.
Developed in 1980s by R.W. Connell to explain male gender ideology.
If they cannot achieve this, they resort to violence and/or suicide.
Because this masculinity is embedded into their brain, even if the men were
segregated from women, there would still be competition (dominance over other
men).
oAccording to Connell, there is not “hegemonic” version of femininity.
oWomen’s gender expectations:
Exaggerated ideal of femininity: “Emphasized feminist” stressing empathy and
nurturance.
Compliance with gender inequality in order to please men.
Gender Differences
Many differences we observe between men and women are deceptive distinctions, not gender
differences.
Language and communication patterns:
oMen and women use language differently in different situations.
Money matters, workplace, family.
oExperience vs. Gender.
The reality is that differences are not as great as was once thought.
Mean Differences
Few differences between men and women are “hand-wired”.
Differences that are constructed socially can be unconstructed socially.
Gender differences are mean differences:
oDifferences in the average scores of men and women on standardized tests.
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