Hegemonic masculinity  

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"Shepherd Bliss [...] rails against what he calls "toxic masculinity" – which he believes is responsible for most of the evil in the world – and proclaims the unheralded goodness of the men who fight the fires and till the soil and nurture their families." -- Kimmel, Michael S., ed. (1995). The Politics of Manhood. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 366–7.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity is part of R. W. Connell's gender order theory, which recognizes multiple masculinities that vary across time, culture and the individual. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as a practice that legitimizes powerful men's dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male population and women, and other marginalized ways of being a man. Conceptually, hegemonic masculinity proposes to explain how and why men maintain dominant social roles over women, and other gender identities, which are perceived as "feminine" in a given society.

As a sociological concept, the nature of hegemonic masculinity derives from the theory of cultural hegemony, by Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, which analyses the power relations among the social classes of a society. Hence, in the term hegemonic masculinity, the adjective hegemonic refers to the cultural dynamics by means of which a social group claims, and sustains, a leading and dominant position in a social hierarchy; nonetheless, hegemonic masculinity embodies a form of social organization that has been sociologically challenged and changed.

The conceptual beginnings of hegemonic masculinity represented the culturally idealized form of manhood that was socially and hierarchically exclusive and concerned with bread-winning; that was anxiety-provoking and differentiated (internally and hierarchically); that was brutal and violent, pseudo-natural and tough, psychologically contradictory, and thus crisis-prone; economically rich and socially sustained.

Many sociologists criticized that definition of hegemonic masculinity as a fixed character-type, which is analytically limited, because it excludes the complexity of different, and competing, forms of masculinity. Consequently, hegemonic masculinity was reformulated to include gender hierarchy, the geography of masculine configurations, the processes of social embodiment, and the psycho-social dynamics of the varieties of masculinity. Moreover, proponents argue that hegemonic masculinity is conceptually useful for understanding gender relations, and is applicable to life-span development, education, criminology, the representations of masculinity in the mass communications media, the health of men and women, and the functional structure of organizations.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hegemonic masculinity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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