Hegemonic Masculinity In American Society Essay

1529 words - 6 pages

Masculinity is described as possession of attributes considered typical of a man. Hegemonic masculinity is a form of masculine character with cultural idealism and emphasis that connects masculinity to competitiveness, toughness, and women subordination. Masculinity hegemonic is the enforcement of male dominion over a society. Masculine ideology dates back to the time of agrarian and the industrial revolution in Europe when survival compelled men to leave their homesteads to work in industries to earn a living for their families while women remained at home to take care of family affairs (Good and Sherrod 210). Women did not work in industries then because industrial labor was considered too physical beyond their capacity. This led to definition of roles which placated the position of men in a society while condemning women as mere subordinates who cannot do without men. The critics of gender stereotypes in America describe the following five hegemonic features of masculinity: frontiersman ship, heterosexuality, occupational achievement, familial patriarchy, and physical force and control (Trujillo 4). The advent of the 20th century led to sweeping changes in American masculinity.

The first half of the 19th century of the United States of America had a characteristic of masculinity described above.
Masculinity was made hegemonic, by defining power in terms of force and control. This is because men are naturally created with body physique, which is characterized by a higher controlling force than women are. Therefore, using force and control to define power naturalized male superiority. The male body was used to represent power, which was masculinized as force, physical strength, control, speed, toughness, and dominion (Trujillo 23). In various spheres of life such as sports, and political leadership, using a male body as a symbol of power led to the creation of male dominance. However, towards the fall of the 20th century, this social consult came under immense challenge when women began to venture in politics and competing men in sports such as football and athletics. Today, the American sporting scene is full of sports women partaking games that were initially reserved for men such as football and athletics. Many women in American political leadership today have proved that they can go beyond the limits of men such as Hillary Clinton or challenge President Barrack Obama on the democratic nomination in 2008 in a tight contest, which saw her emerge the second democratic favorite.
The second element of hegemonic masculinity was the definition of masculinity through occupational success in a capitalistic society. This led to the rise of gender stereotypes and the two cults of true womanhood and two spheres. According to the earlier cult, a woman was judged on four cardinal principals of purity, piety, domesticity, and submissiveness. The architects of this cult held that the power of a true woman that promised success and...

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