Men and Masculinities

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Men and Masculinities]

    • 00:11

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK: I'm Dr. Mark McCormack.I'm a senior lecturer in Sociologyhere at Durham University.And I co-direct the Centre for Sex, Gender, and Sexualities.[Dr. Mark McCormack, Co Director,Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities]This tutorial was about the study of men and masculinities.The critical study of men and masculinitiesrecognizes that men have a gender.Importantly, this gender yields both benefits, but alsoproblems.And that is because the privilege afforded

    • 00:32

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: to men by being men isn't evenly distributed amongst them.The research has shown that men of color,men of particular classes, and also,men of non-normative sexualities have been particularly damagedby the association with a dominant form of masculinity,which has oppressed them.Homophobia police masculinites because of the conflation

    • 00:53

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: that heterosexuality and masculinity were the same,that any gender nonconformity, any feminine behaviors in menrendered a person gay.But decreasing homophobia in the broader culturerecently has meant that the policing of menhas had less effect.Decreasing homophobia has meant that mencan start to explore different ways of being.

    • 01:15

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: So we see the emergence or metrosexualityas a way of men engaging with their feminine side, whatMark Simpson has called the "spormosexual," in beingsexually objectified and enjoying it.The benefits of decreasing homophobiameans that, whereas, men were onceforbidden from talking about loving and cuddlingwith their friends, nowadays theycan engage in that homosocial tactility, intimacy,

    • 01:39

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: and emotional closeness.So we see that the dominant forms of masculinity and thevalued forms of masculinity are actually culturally dependentand based on other social norms.[The Study of Masculinities and its Key Tenets]The first point of this tutorial isto understand the social context in whichthe recognition of men having a gender came into being.

    • 02:01

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: The sociological study of men and masculinitiesemerged from a broader trend of feminist studies,the recognition that women were oppressedbecause of their own gender.However, in much of the feminist writing,there hadn't been any serious studyof men and the role men played in gender inequality.So the critical study of men and masculinitiescame about from a pro-feminist perspective supporting

    • 02:21

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: the notion that gender inequality existed,but explicitly recognizing the gendered componentof men's behaviors.Recognizing that men had a masculinity,and that their masculinity gave them certain privilegesthat women didn't have, whether it be in terms of leadership,in the workplace, whether it be in terms of economic power,or just general respect.

    • 02:43

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: Men gained a lot from their gender in waysthat women did not.[Multiple Masculinities]The second key point in this tutorialis to recognize that masculinities are not singular,masculinity, but, plural, masculinities.After the emergence of the critical studyof men and masculinities, there was this recognition

    • 03:04

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: that men had gendered power, that men gain from being men.However, there's thought to be this understanding, as well,that not all men gained.Men of color were marginalized in hierarchies of masculinity.So were man of particular classes.So were men who were sexual minorities.The power and privilege that men gain from being menwas not divided equally among them.

    • 03:25

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: So there had to be the recognitionthat masculinities were not all equal,but that men gained differently from gender inequality.And, indeed, some men didn't gain at all.[Theorizing the Stratification of Masculinities]The first point of this tutorial isto think about how the stratification of masculinitieswas theorized.There was recognition that masculinitiesin Western cultures were stratified,and not all men gained equally because of their gender.

    • 03:47

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: The key theorist to talk about these issueswas Raewyn Connell.She discussed the notion of hegemonic masculinity.This was the idea that there was a hierarchy of masculinitiesand kind of a vertical hierarchy.There were men who had more privilege and more esteemthan others, and that there's almost a ladder in which youcould place different men on this hierarchy.Crucial to her understanding was this notion of hegemony,

    • 04:09

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: and that with hegemony from Antonio Gramsci, the notionthat people buy into their own inequalities.So the men who were on top of the treeactually engaged in processes that supported the guy whowas the top of the tree.The two forms that this hegemonic masculinitymost frequently took was either the businessman,who gained power and privilege in the way he operated

    • 04:31

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: in businesses and elsewhere.But, perhaps, more emblematically, the jock.The American jock with the muscleswho played in sports, who was white, who was heterosexual,middle class, had privilege, and power, and youth,and used these to marginalize other guys.And crucial to this notion of hegemonicmasculinity, or this process of hegemonic masculinity,

    • 04:52

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: is that this hierarchy was kept in place through,what Connell talked about as discursive marginalization,homophobic bullying, verbal threats, etcetera, and physical regulation, beating people up,and other forms of bullying and other kind of physical palpableprocesses.And hegemonic masculinity, as a theory,

    • 05:13

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: was incredibly powerful in understandinghow men and masculinities were stratified, howthese people were marginalized.She talked about a whole range of archetypes, whichmen were categorized into.And you can read more about that in her book, Masculinities.[Homophobia is Central to Policing Masculinities]

    • 05:33

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: When understanding the masculinitiesand the hierarchies of masculinities,we need to think about how they are policed.I spoke about in point three, the roleof discursive marginalization.As it turns out, the research shows, unquestionably,the most effective way to do this wasthrough the use of homophobia.That's because, actually, when you look at the 1980s and 1990s

    • 05:54

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: in terms of attitudinal homophobia,they are the most homophobic times on record.This was a combination of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,of the moral majority under Thatcher and Reagan,and also the vice of religion as a kind of policing agent,Evangelical Christianity using homophobia as that,for their own political reasons.

    • 06:14

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: In that context, no one could prove their heterosexuality,because there is no physical markers of heterosexualityseparating straight from gay and other sexual minority people.So homophobia was incredibly powerful as a wayof policing masculinity.And Anderson talked about this through the 'one time ruleof homosexuality," just one behavior, just one

    • 06:36

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: gendered behavior, where you are too feminine,where you don't measure up to that orthodox typeof masculinity.And you are perceived as gay.So homophobia becomes a tactic used to marginalize other boys,and, interestingly, to also secureyour own heterosexuality.If I'm being homophobic, how could I possibly be gayruns the mantra.

    • 06:57

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: So we see that homophobia became this incredibly important toolto police masculinities.Homophobia may not be about actual disgust or dislikeof gay people.Rather, it's about producing, and promoting,and securing your own heterosexual and thus,masculine identity.So the impact of homophobia on men and masculinities

    • 07:18

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: was to restrict men's gender behaviors.And it did so to privilege some, actually, reallyquite damaging behaviors, that menwere expected to engage with.So men we're not allowed to talk about their emotional concerns.They weren't allowed to talk about love, about friendship,about caring for their friends.They weren't allowed to work hard,

    • 07:38

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: or to be shown to be working hard.It was privileging all kind of a anti-schoolishnes.So research about boys in school showsthat this particular hard of masculinity that was required,one where fighting was involved, one where footballwas involved, one where men's relationships with womenwere limited to sex and sexual objectification

    • 07:58

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: and no other more meaningful engagements.So we see that the damage of homophobia and of the policingof masculinities was to take the acts that we valuein relationships, caring, love, emotionality and restricting itto much harder, more damaging shell.[Decreased Homophobia Has Led to Inclusive Masculinities]

    • 08:19

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: The fifth point of this tutorial isto understand how, as homophobia has decreased,masculinities are changing and becoming more inclusive.Given that homophobia was so central to the policingand regulation of men and masculinitiesin the 1980s and 1990s, it actuallystands to reason that as homophobia decreases,men's behaviors change.And what we see since the turn of millennium

    • 08:41

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: is the most significant and profound social trends relatedto attitudinal homophobia.Homophobia has decreased, accordingto large scale surveys, like no other social issue.As a result, we see more space for mento engage in behaviors that were forbidden themin the 1980s and 1990s.This started with the emergence of the metrosexual.The metrosexual was used as a label

    • 09:01

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: to enable men to explore feminine behaviors in waysthat they weren't permitted before.So David Beckham was the archetypeof this kind of change, the metrosexual, the guy whocared about his image, while still being straight.But this served as a transition periodto allow men to explore their softer side.

    • 09:22

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: In my book, The Declining Significance Of Homophobia,I looked at how that broader social trend reallymapped onto young men's social behaviors.And I talked about the redefining of masculinityand heterosexuality.These guys aren't afraid to tell their friendsthat they love them.They're not afraid to hug and cuddle, and even spoonwith their male friend.They value the emotional and physical intimacy they share.

    • 09:46

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: And so we see, instead of the homophobic, macho behaviorsof men in the 1980s and 1990s, a more softer inclusive versionof masculinity is occurring.I called it the 'One Direction effect' because the softnessand intimacy that One Direction show is modeledand mirrored by young men today.[Key points]

    • 10:12

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: In conclusion, the study of men and masculinitiesis vital to understanding society.It's vital because we can't understand gender inequalitywithout understanding men's role in it.It's also vital in understanding how some men are actuallyvery damaged by masculinity, even straight men whoextensively gain the most privilege over women.The study of men and masculinities

    • 10:32

      DR. MARK MCCORMACK [continued]: is very important, because it speaks to these issuesof social justice.And while decreasing homophobia shows a new world opening upfor men, we also need to think critically abouthow inequalities both between men and between men and womenmay still be perpetuated.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Men and Masculinities

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Abstract

Professor Mark McCormack analyzes Western social norms that for many years dominated the accepted standards for masculinity. His research examines the cultural shifts and changes that have redefined masculinity since the 1980s.

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Men and Masculinities

Professor Mark McCormack analyzes Western social norms that for many years dominated the accepted standards for masculinity. His research examines the cultural shifts and changes that have redefined masculinity since the 1980s.

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