Masculinity as homophobia Kimmel
We think of manhood as innate, biological composition of the human male, result of
androgens or the possession of a penis
Kimmel: view masculinity as a constantly changing collection of meanings that we construct
through our relationships with ourselves, with each other and with our world
Manhood is socially constructed – it is constantly being played out, acted upon, reasserted
and over time, redefined. It has the ability to be shifted and changed to encompass a much
larger definition of manhood. It does not have to be rooted in insecurity, competition, and in
opposition to anything that is not seen as the pinnacle of macho manliness.
Masculinity is a homosocial enactment – a competition, a show – all built up in gendered
action and language and exaggerated to hide signs of so called weakness that are defined as
feminine in opposition.
Everything that is not viewed as a pure masculinity is placed lower on the hierarchical scale
that has been put in place as a measurement of masculinity. This includes everything that is
not male, white, heterosexual, middle/upper-class, physically and mentally abled.
Homophobia is at the root of masculinity as a fear of being emasculated. This greatly informs
racism, sexism, and is the cause for silence, insecurity, fear, shame, and isolation within and
Violence is used as a clear and very visible sign of masculinity
Othered groups are always in contention with the definition of pure masculinity. Over history
this has shifted.
There has been an assumption that because men as a group hold power, individual men must
feel powerful. This is a contradiction, because symmetry between the public and private or
social and psychological reality rarely exists.
The desire, or what seems like an insurmountable need to be viewed as masculine affects all
areas of society. Escape and exclusion have often been used by men to keep or regain power,
but in order to create change the silence must be broken to form allies with people regardless
of gender, sexuality, race, class, ability etc.
Social and historical constructions of both hegemonic and alternate masculinities
In the late 18 century and early 19 century, two models of manhood prevailed.
1. The genteel patriarch derived his identity from land ownership. Manhood of the traditional
aristocracy, class that embodied the virtue of liberty
2. Heroic artisan embodied the physical strength and republican virtue, independent urban
craftsman or shopkeeper. embodied democratic community, the solidarity of the urban
shopkeeper or craftsman
They lived in casual accord, in part because their gender ideals were complementary