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The stereotypical male character and masculinity essay

The Effect of Traditional Masculinity on Gender Equality Aydon EdwardsMar 29 2015, 39750 views This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree. Public and international discourse on the debate for gender equality focuses on the oppression of women, as it rightly should.

However, the influence that traditional male stereotypes have on the perpetuation of gender inequality, at a transnational scale, also needs to be addressed.

This essay asks how do male stereotypes affect the manner in which males engage with gender equality? By encouraging males to analyse their socially constructed gender profiles, it is possible to educate them on how their social roles may impact gender equality.

Essay: Double Standard of Masculinity in Gender Role Socialization

This will involve analysing the entrenchment of traditional male stereotypes in society and their consequent impact on women. Firstly, the essay will establish that male stereotypes operate within a larger structure of the gender paradigm.

Then, it will define gender equality and its various interpretations.

The Stereotypical Male Character and Masculinity Essay

This will then lead the essay to discuss the trajectory of the progress towards gender equality and why males must be viewed as fundamental actors. Certain masculinities preserve and promote the inequalities experienced between men and women, and, in order to achieve gender equality, they must be dismantled.

When analysing male stereotypes, in the context of gender equality, it is important to recognise that they do not operate in isolation. Gender denotes the social phenomenon of distinguishing males and females based on a set of identity traits. The gendering of the sexes produces and sustains socially constructed differences. However, there is a vital distinction at work here, one that will underpin this essay — the difference between sex and gender.

  • On one occasion I had a severe cut in my knee that required several stitches;
  • For example, Epstein, in her book Deceptive Distinctions, maintains that distinctions based on gender identities serve more harm than good, and that attempts to divide the sexes based on intelligence present dysfunctional consequences for society.

Sex and gender are classifications for differentiating between men and women. Sex, in contrast to gender, refers to the determination made based upon scientifically accepted biological criteria. The problem with this misconception is that in societies, such as those in the West, it is assumed that the reproductive function of males and females is a sufficient basis for prescribing psychological and behavioural characteristics onto members of society. This means that gender is not fixed. According to Freud, the human subject has always been sexed, and that despite the biological differences, males and females have become particular social subjects.

Therefore, the supposed differences between men and women are accentuated through the legitimisation of social stereotypes. These stereotypes, presented as inherent, are influenced by the social environment to which one is subjected. Male and female gender profiles are normalised to the extent that they appear natural, biological.

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This view, however, is not universally shared. In his paper titled, Feminism Against Science, Goldberg argues that the cognitive and behavioural differences between men and women are established through their respective physiologies, and that society and gender are a reflection of biological realities.

Discussions about gender are often adjacent to discussions that attempt to determine the intellectual capacities of either sex. Debates of this nature were generated in the late nineteenth century, when it was determined, with scientific vindication, that the challenges and complexities of academia were deemed too overwhelming for the female mind.

It supports the idea that the only factor of sexual differentiation that needs to be considered is the reproductive process. Therefore, sex differences are of vital importance to survival. Differentiation can unintentionally, and the stereotypical male character and masculinity essay, cultivate a culture of discrimination. In categorising the differences between two subjects, one is automatically participating in a process of judgment. This judgment can manifest as a destructive bias or a positive comparison.

Sex difference has been biologically substantiated, and, in some cases, justified in the development of evolution. However, some argue that males and females are increasingly similar than different.

For example, Epstein, in her book Deceptive Distinctions, maintains that distinctions based on gender identities serve more harm than good, and that attempts to divide the sexes based on intelligence present dysfunctional consequences for society. Are women mentally inferior to men? Some scholars argue in the affirmative, that men and women exhibit asymmetrical cognitive capabilities. However, scholars such as Seligman answer in the negative: They may support the superiority of a particular sex, which in turn, is deliberately or intuitively reflected in their respective research.

They are thus influenced by universal social discourses such as race, gender, and class. Absolute scientific objectivity is a standard difficult to uphold. As Gaitanidis states, the conditions, which produce gender identities, are not quasi-universal; sociocultural and historical forces intrude in our lives to shape our personal identities. Sex difference has been largely debunked, or at the very least, considered inconclusive. The general consensus is that neither sex is psychologically superior.

The emphasis is rather on the socialisation of difference, where the male and female gender constructs are influenced by worldviews, perceived norms and the unconscious. The variation of positions on sex difference indicates how pervasive the gender paradigm is, and how even purportedly objective areas of study, like science, can be skewed to perpetuate the idea of male intellectual dominance.

The revolutionary work of feminists and social constructivists over the past four decades has highlighted the impact and influence of gender constructs on sociocultural life and knowledge. At this juncture, the essay needs to address this question.

Debates about gender equality refer to the asymmetrical power balance experienced between men and women due to differences in their gendered identities. Some argue the term is a paradox; gender is a system based on difference, and thus could never transform into a state of equivalence.

This approach is much more constructive, as it recognises gender equality as a fluid concept that responds to the unique requirements of specific contexts. As echoed by men and women across all continents, in the World Development Report conducted by The World Bank, gender equality was seen to encompass three key elements: With this in mind, the essay will now discuss the relationship between masculinity and gender equality.

Gender is an organising principle of social life, and change towards equality will require exceptional institutional and gender identity reform. In 2012, women comprised only 26. Masculinities and male stereotypes must be studied and deconstructed in order to the stereotypical male character and masculinity essay change in how men relate to women. Stereotypes, or gender profiles, play an important role in the discussion of gender equality. They attribute certain characteristics to whole segments of society with the intention of presenting perception as truth.

The scale to which gender stereotypes impact society is articulated by Epstein who argues: They are naturalised within society through a process of reproduction and maintenance.

However, they are not created equal. It is a location within the male gender hierarchy that occupies the hegemonic, or top position. As such, hegemonic masculinity retains the dominant position of social life, while other masculinities, such as homosexual masculinity, [46] and women are subordinated. In order to aspire to this social classification, there is a particular set of core features that a man must demonstrate. Public and private engagement with gender equality is scarce among males, which often obscures the issue and manifests dismissive attitudes.

One of the main issues regarding gender equality is that men do not comprehensively understand how traditional masculinities disadvantage women. Many men are unaware they exist within socially constructed gender structures that disenfranchise subordinated gender profiles, and therefore do not recognise a problem. Fortunately, attitudes, and the gender profiles they are associated with, are subject to social construction and transformation.

The supportive involvement of all those affected by gender is required to effect gender equality.

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the stereotypical male character and masculinity essay In other words, the global community as a whole. These attitudes present a considerable hurdle in reaching gender equality, as they are taught to children and carried on through the generations.

A research program commissioned by Plan of over 4,000 adolescent children in different countries including the United Kingdom UKRwanda, and India, found that: One of the major principles of traditional masculinity that harms gender equality is that women are fundamentally inferior to men. This view can be traced back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who based this claim on the principles of reason.

According to the French feminist philosopher, Beauvoir, men consider humanity to be constructed in their image: Due to the fact that traditional masculinity discourages the expression of emotion, men rarely discuss their feelings.

Evidence of this is presented in the positive relationship between traditional masculinity and depression among male university students in the UK and United States. Hanninen and Valkonen argue that the principles of masculinity inhibit the expression of weakness or emotional distress and the seeking of help to remedy it. In other words, traditional masculinity is not equipped to respond to challenges that threaten its integrity, such as depression perceived as emotional weakness and gender equality.

Changing or altering traditional masculinity should be more widely recognised as an important step towards realising gender equality. In light of this, some gender equality advocate groups around the world have identified the need to promote masculinities that are more conducive of change. MenEngage is a group for boys and men whose primary function is to advocate for equality between males and females.

Those who acknowledge the existence of gender equality, and seek to address it, agree that equality cannot progress without the contribution of males. Developing male attitudes towards open acknowledgement of the gender profiles they operate within is an important step in reaching gender equality. Furthermore, this suggests that gender equality is achievable through the deconstruction of traditional masculinity as the hegemonic masculinity.

Male stereotypes affect the manner in which males engage with gender equality, and traditional masculinity acts as the dominant masculinity for men. Although different masculinities exist for men, the idea of traditional masculinity remains the most influential. Realising gender equality is difficult, because the fundamental characteristics exhibited by traditional masculinity defend against change.

  • Without the supportive contribution of males, gender equality is doomed to perpetuate existing power imbalances that favour traditional masculinity;
  • Plan International, 2011 , p;
  • Most of what a young boy learns about what it means to be masculine is presented to him at such an early stage that he accepts it as an inevitable truth;
  • Debates about gender equality refer to the asymmetrical power balance experienced between men and women due to differences in their gendered identities;
  • When analysing male stereotypes, in the context of gender equality, it is important to recognise that they do not operate in isolation;
  • Rethinking psychoanalytic Concepts of male development.

For global gender equality to progress, males must recognise themselves as fundamental actors and actively work to change the patriarchal structures, which benefit them to the exclusion of all others. Without the supportive contribution of males, gender equality is doomed to perpetuate existing power imbalances that favour traditional masculinity.

To progress towards gender equality, efforts must be made to deconstruct traditional masculinity. Connell, Masculinities, 2nd ed. Paxton, Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2014p. Runyan, Global Gender Issues Oxford: Westview Press, 1993p. Routledge, 1994p. Gatens, Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality Cambridge: