WSTA03H3 Lecture Notes - Hegemonic Masculinity, Paul Epworth, Gender Studies

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WEEK 10: Masculinity Studies
Masculinity Studies
Part of gender studies
Masculinity: often confusing and contradictory
- Media heroes: courageous, competent and always in control but sometimes
romantic and sensitive
- Women: praise both sensitivity AND toughness in men
Most men fall short when they attempt to satisfy both standards
Images of masculinity are often confusing and contradictory in what sense?: How
media represents the “ideal” men – that men are courageous and competent, they should
always be in control; they also have a genre of the “sensitive” man
Every studies show that women praise men that are sensitive and at the same time,
admire toughness in men; what’s the problem with this? these two messages are
contradictory and hard to fulfill
Male Standards: Six Historical Periods
1. Epic Male
2. Spiritual Male
3. Chivalric Male
4. Renaissance Male
5. Bourgeois Male
6. Modern Male
In the history of Western civilizations:
(1) Epic Man around 800-100 BC; in this period, the ideal man is the epic man; the
main features are action, physical strength, courage, loyalty and the beginning of
(2) Spiritual Man from 400-1000 AD; the time of the teaching of Jesus and the early
church fathers; in this era, the ideal man is the spiritual man whose major features are self
pronunciation, restraint sexual activity, anti-homosexual attitude, and strong patriarchal
(3) Chivalric Man from 12th century; feudalism and chivalry defined the desirable
masculinity; self-sacrifice, courage, honour and service to the lady
(4) Renaissance Man 16th century social system; embodies rationality, intellectual
endeavours and self-exploration
(5) Bourgeois Man success in business, status and worldly manner, entrepreneurship,
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