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Masculinity

  • By: Susan L. Wortmann & Nicholas Park
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Masculinity is a term generally used to denote a set of characteristics, actions, attitudes, expectations, and ways of being that a particular society maintains for men. What is considered masculine changes over time and varies between and within social classes, racial and ethnic groups, subcultures, cultures, and societies. Societal-wide dominant stereotypical images and established practices, however, create an overall normative structure. This structure legitimates what it means to be an ideal man—physically, mentally, and emotionally. R. W. Connell and James Messerschmidt call this dominant form hegemonic masculinity. They conclude that the contemporary hegemonic American image of masculinity is that of an individual who is middle class, strong, confident, unemotional, physically fit, overtly heterosexual, and a provider and protector of women. Similarly, Nicholas Townsend lists four ...

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