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The Masculine Gender Role

Uploaded by Rikordway on Dec 03, 2002

Masculinity is a topic that has been debated in our society often, through research as well as in our daily lives. Many wonder what it means to be masculine, and if we can really assign a definition to such a one-sided term. After all, shouldn't an individuals view determine what constitutes masculinity? This view of masculinity would be the ideal in our society, but unfortunately, it represents a false belief. Masculinity has certain characteristics assigned to it by our culture. In this paper I will discuss the many sides of masculinity and show how certain beliefs pertaining to it are caused by our society.

The definition of Masculinity

Men are primarily and secondarily socialized into believing certain characteristics are definitive in determining their manliness and masculinity. These characteristics range from not crying when they get hurt to being and playing violently. The socialization of masculinity in our society begins as early as the first stages of infancy. A child's growing sense of self or self-concept is a result of the multitude of ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs to which he is exposed (Cushner). From the outset of a boy's life he is socialized into the belief that he should be 'tough'. Often when boys get hurt, 'scrape their knee', or come whimpering to their mother or father, the famous words, "boys don't cry", are bound to come out. Children internalize parental messages regarding gender at an early age, with awareness of adult sex role differences being found in two-year-old children (Cushner). One study found that children at two and a half years of age use gender stereotypes in negotiating their world and are likely to generalize gender stereotypes to a variety of activities, objects, and occupations (Cushner). This legitimization teaches males that boys and men are not allowed to cry. There also exists the belief that boys are often required to do 'men's work' outside of the home such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, etc., and not 'sissy women's work' such as cooking and cleaning, etc.

The violence boys' witness on television further support this belief. Bowker explains that advertising imagery associates masculinity with violence. For boys this means aggression is instrumental in that it enables them to establish their masculinity. Lee Bowker researched the influence advertisements have on youth. He asserts that toy advertisements featuring only boys depict aggressive behavior. Also, the aggressive behavior generally results in positive...

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Uploaded by:   Rikordway

Date:   12/03/2002

Category:   Science And Technology

Length:   6 pages (1,446 words)

Views:   2594

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