Masculinity Research Paper

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Many literary scholars agree that a comprehensive definition of masculinity should instead focus on the gendered relationships and processes in the society which men often under go at different times in their lives. Generally the difficulty to achieve a comprehensive definition of masculinity has been on going for several decades. For example in the Western ideas, a number of categories can be used to describe the modern masculinity. In this regard, some of the characteristics associated with masculinity in the Western context include status and success, confidence, toughness, self reliance, violence and aggression. In some literary works however, the term masculinity has largely been used to describe the dominant characteristics that have always prevailed in the society. For example, heroes and conquerors have always been associated with masculinity. Connell suggests the use of four main categories of defining masculine characteristics (13). These categories include hegemonic ideals, cultural glorification and complicit masculinity. According to this approach, men usually agree to undergo the processes and challenges of masculinity for a number of reasons such as to avoid being subordinated, to achieve the material and symbolic benefits that come with masculine roles and sometimes simply for the pleasure of it. Apart from the hegemonic definition of masculinity, another important approach is subordination view. In this framework, the definition of masculinity particularly focuses on dominance related to gender relations. For example violence and aggression as a characteristic of masculinity is associated with the struggle to dominate others while at the same time refuse to being dominated upon. Many scholars, however, concur that male roles and characteristics often change many times as men grow to become adults. Consequently in their diverse roles, men are often faced with diverse experiences that require them to develop their masculine norms and meet the expectations of the society. Contemporary definitions and view of masculinity Most of the contemporary definitions of masculinity have incorporated the belief in individual differences and individuality. In some societies, masculinity is still associated with aggression, taking risks, responsibility and other traits that define the ideal expectations of men in the society. Scholars have, however, taken an approach that defines masculinity in the context of the differences in the experiences of men and women in their relationships and other aspects of society. Despite the fact that such definitions may have a limited scope, they have generally been effective in the analysis of various aspects of culture. Although the roles associated with masculinity are often beneficial, sometimes men find masculine standards to be involving many risks. In almost all societies, masculinity has always been associated with unlimited power. The reality, however, is that masculine responsibilities are often characterized by conflicts, tensions and the need for self sacrifice. Consequently some scholars argue that defining masculinity in