WSTA01 Lec 6
Feminist Studies of Men
o How are men gendered? What are the issues affecting men as “men”?
Liberal feminists - try to get foot in the door; about getting into male-
• This house is not equal - males are on the top and females are in
Radical feminists - getting to the roots, trying to see how that house was
formed try to change outline of this house
MEMRF - more than just one system that needs to be restructured
(colonialism, racism, etc.)
There were men supporting liberal feminists (voting for women), women’s
struggles for equal rights
Why an international men’s day?
o International women’s day = March 8
o International men’s day = November 19
o About supporting positive role models, solidarity
1. How are men gendered?
o Gender studies focus on trying to understand how masculinity is constructed
o Masculinity studies: field of study that focuses on the various forms of
masculinity in society
o Important concept: hegemonic masculinity
Uncovering men’s issues
o What are the issues that affect men as “men”?
Stigma of men portraying feminine roles
Men being portrayed as aggressive o Suicide (4x higher than for women)
o Homicide - more likely of this
o Higher risk of alcohol abuse
o Prostate cancer (affects as many men as breast cancer affects women)
2. What is masculinity?
o According to this studies done on the US Navy, men have certain traits that are
valued as part of what it means to be a man
Tough, strong, heterosexual, do not complain, unemotional,
Examples: James Bond, Dr. Who, Marlboro Man
o Female figures who are also “masculine” in the media: Mulan,
o Males who are more feminine and are still heroes:
Main guy from Scrubs
o There are a lack of role models of men that are not “strong” and are more
Have a disadvantage
Masculinity as socially constructed
o Social construction based on a hierarchical relationship
o Hegemonic masculinity: dominant, heteronormative,
Type of masculinity that relates to a system where some men are dominant
Defined by what it is not being a man is defined as what is not: a woman,
not needing protection, not being needy,
Hegemonic masculinity is also dominant against other men (gay men, etc.)
Defined in relation to what women, gay men, subordinate (racialized) men
o Masculinity is global - it is about a social, economic construction
o VIDEO: Professor Raewyn Connell Masculinity is not an attitude, not a set of hormones, it is what men do in
the world; has a relationship to biology but not a fixed relationship
Women can act in a masculine way but it’s usually men that do
What are hegemonic masculinities?
• It concerns relationships among women and among other men
• Hierarchy among masculinities - one kind is honoured and “top
dog”, while others are marginalized
o Masculinity is defined in a binary in relation to women and other men
o “hegemonic” - one is valued over the others
System based on dominance and privilege
o Has to do with a social form of behaviour, embodied practices (sports, business,
o How do people “do” masculinity?
When in groups, the kids that take over as leaders
Hegemonic masculinity cont’d
o Some types of masculinity that are detrimental to men (or to women):
Male bakers that use exact measurements - are stigmatized by women who
do not need to measure amounts
o Men embody masculinity but women can also portray masculinity
Can women perform masculinity?
o E.g. Frida Kahlo - Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair
Wore men’s clothes
Masculine poses o E.g. Margaret Thatcher displayed hegemonic masculinity
Cropped her hair short
Passed anti-women laws
o Women also embody masculinity - those high in businesses liberal feminist idea
Need to prove they are strong, powerful
Is masculinity always hegemonic?
o Forest fire firefighters vs. firefighters such as those during 9/11
Those firefighters that risk their lives (such as during 9/11) are seen as
heroes while those fighting forest fires are not
o Prison guards - marginalized
3. What are multiple masculinities?
o Men also face intersections (class, race, immigration status, religion, age,