Masculine psychology  

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This page Masculine psychology is part of the gender series.Illustration: Toulouse-Lautrec wearing Jane Avril's Feathered Hat and Boa (ca. 1892), photo Maurice Guibert.
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This page Masculine psychology is part of the gender series.
Illustration: Toulouse-Lautrec wearing Jane Avril's Feathered Hat and Boa (ca. 1892), photo Maurice Guibert.

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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.

Masculine psychology is a term sometimes used to describe and categorize issues concerning the gender related psychology of male human identity, as well as the issues that men confront during their lives. One stream emphasises gender differences and has a scientific and empirical approach, while the other, more therapeutic in orientation, is more closely aligned to the psychoanalytic tradition. It also relates to concepts such as masculinity and machismo.

Historical perspectives

Among artists and scientists during the Renaissance, it was the prevailing belief that the study of the male form was in itself a study of God. Michelangelo's David is based upon this artistic discipline, which is known as disegno. Under this discipline, sculpture is considered to be the finest form of art because it mimics divine creation. Because Michelangelo adhered to the concepts of disegno, he worked under the premise that the image of David was already in the block of stone he was working on—in much the same way as the human soul is thought by some to be found within the physical body.

The male fear of the feminine

The male fear of the feminine is a phenomenon that has been discussed since the 1930s. It was first introduced by the German psychoanalyst and critic of Freudian theory, Karen Horney (1932) in her paper titled "the dread of women." Erich Neumann (1954), a German-born Jungian analyst, dedicated one essay to the discussion, titled "The fear of the feminine" (Orig: Die Angst vor dem Weiblichen, 1959). Neumann regards "patriarchal normality as a form of fear of the feminine" (p. 261).

A later contributor is Chris Blazina, a psychodynamic psychologist and professor based at Tennessee State University. Blazina considers that "the fear of the feminine helps define what is masculine" (1997). In 1986, James O'Neil et al. theorized that the male fear of the feminine is a core aspect of the male psyche. He developed a 37-question psychometric test, a gender role conflict scale (GRCS), to measure the extent to which a man is in conflict with traditional masculine role values. This test is built upon the notion of the male fear of the feminine.

In 2003, Werner Kierski, a London-based German-born psychotherapist and researcher, associated with humanistic psychology and transpersonal and existential psychotherapy designed the first empirical research into the male fear of the feminine with the results published in 2007 and presented to the public at the 2007 annual conference of the American Men's Studies Association (AMSA) and at the 2007 research conference of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

According to the various sources, the male fear of the feminine is connected to influences from their mothers and to cultural norms that prescribe how men must behave in order to feel accepted as men.

When men experience vulnerable feelings and other feelings that are associated with women, men can become frightened. According to Kierski (2007), the fear of the feminine then acts in two ways: a) Like an internal monitor to ensure that men stay within the boundaries of what is regarded as masculine, i.e. being action orientated, self-reliant, guarded, and seemingly independent; b) if a man fails to experience this and feels out of control, vulnerable or dependent, the fear of the feminine can act like a defence, leading to splitting off, repressing, or projecting those feelings.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Masculine psychology" 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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