IntroductionThis essay will outline the basic understanding of hegemonicmasculinity and the impacts it has on society and individuals. The main focusof this essay will involve around the concept of hegemonic masculinity by RaewynConnell.
This perception will be explored in varies ways to help describe differentareas of interest. Next, this concept will be applied to opposite sex intimatepartner violence. This theory will be applied to this certain group, and helpcreate an understanding on why this type of violence occurs and how hegemonicmasculinity is related or be the cause of these incidents. What is Hegemonic Masculinity? Raewyn Connell is currently knownfor the work surrounding hegemonic masculinity, and is currently a professor inSydney Australia.
She had generated this concept from her gender order theory,which recognizes masculinity throughout time, culture and the person. Thenature of the term ‘hegemonic’ comes from a theory of culture hegemonic thatwas created by Marxist philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci thatinvestigates society and the power among different classes and groups.Therefore, ‘hegemonic’ explains the social group claims, and the dominant andleading position in a social hierarchy. The definition of masculinity is apossession of qualities that are associated by men. This concept is explains why women are subordination to men, andshows how men in society have a dominant position. Theoretically, it explainswhy men hold an inferior position over women, and other gender identities (Connell,2005). However, this theory does not always mean control over women in theirrelationships, but can be defined as “a question ofhow particular groups of men inhabit positions of power and wealth, and howthey legitimate and reproduce the social relationships that generate their dominant(Donaldson, p655, 1993).” Therefore, it can be dominated over men indifferent situations such as social conflicts, military and business’.
Thethree primary proportions of hegemonic masculinity which men vary in theiradherence are, “(a) status, which reflects men’s belief thatthey must gain the respect from others, (b) toughness, which reflects men’sbelief that they must appear aggressive and physically and emotionally strong,and (c) antifemininity, which reflects men’s belief that they should avoidstereotypically feminine behaviours (Lisco, Leone,Gallagher & Parrott, 2015)”. The cultural specific idea of masculinity canbe described as for example a white, athletic heterosexual male whom issuccessful and financially stable, therefore makes a social framework for malesin society to live up to this expectation of society (Peralta,Tuttle & Steele, 2010). The perception of ‘manhood’ that were inwestern society, showed that their were personal codes and an foundation formasculine scripts of aggressive behaviour.
The types were emotional restraint,aggression, toughness, courage, athletic, risk-taking, thrill, violence,strength, success, achievement and competitiveness (Donaldson, 1993). The concept of hegemonic masculinity has been around for over 3decades and can be described as hierarchy of authority, power and recognitionamong males and women (Hegemonic masculinity, 2011). This notion has been usedin educational studies, to describe why young boys bully and patterns ofconflict. It has also helped theorize a connection between different sums ofcrimes linking to masculinity. The studies hegemonic masculinity has been usedin are crimes committed by men or boys such as rape in Switzerland, football”hooliganism, white-collar crime in England, murder in Australia and assaultiveviolence in the United States. Furthermore, it was applied while studying menand how they were represented on the media. Examples could be sporting, and warimagery. This concept was used to help explain different masculinities andapplying them to different sports such as body contact sports that containedviolence, which promoted masculinity (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005).
Intimated Partner Violence Many individuals consider strangerspresent majority of offences, however in reality many crimes are committed inour own homes behind shut doors. Around 1.5 million women, and 800,000 men area result of intimate partner violence each year, according to a surveyconducted by the National Violence Against Women (Wright, 2011).
It is morecommon for women to be assaulted by a current or former marital partner than astranger (Tjaden & Thoennes,2000). Women are more likely to be the target, and willincrease over their lifetime and are double chance of being killed by a partnerthan men. Women’s partner murdered over 22 percent of women in 2007 and almost22% of women are somewhat involved in intimate partner violence once in theirlifespan (Wright, 2011).
Throughout century’s violence in relationships havenot been uncommon towards women. Many traditions of marriage were that a manwere the dominant species in marriages, and was acceptable to afflict violentactions on their spouse if they did not obey. Husbands would lead and womenwould have to obey in tradition marriages or relationships. However, economicaland social changes have occurred throughout the years to ensure women are equalto men. Despite the change in society, violence towards women by men stilloccurs but is not socially accepted as it once was (Dolan, 1960).
It is saidthat almost 19 percent of American couples occur intimate violence within ayear, and approximately 11 percentage of violence is in marriages and 6.3percent happens in non-married couples (Wright, 2011). Majority ofrelationships occur conflicts, however sometimes the strategy used is violence.Intimate violence can be done be boyfriends, ex and current husbands. The term’intimate partner violence’ can be referred to as sexual violence, psychologicalabuse and physical violence (Jewkes, 2002).
Hegemonic Masculinity applied to Intimated PartnerViolence Many situationscan be associated with intimated partner violence such as poverty, power andsex identify. Therefore, hegemonic masculinity will help explain how somesituations of violence occurs against women due to male’s perception of maledominance. Male to female aggression is said to be a result of societypressuring males to adhere to a hegemonic masculinity that is dominance overwomen and continue patriarchy of men (Lisco, Leone, Gallagher & Parrott,2015). Therefore, social norms can be one of the leading factors of why menexercise their masculinity upon women. Young girls or boys whom are brought upin an environment of abuse, for example watching their mother be a victim ofabuse will allow for them to believe it is a social norm. Therefore, the younggirls will believe it is normal to be dominated by their spouse and tolerateviolence. Furthermore, young boys will believe that males are the superiorspecies and continue to express their masculinity by physical abuse. Men whom live in poverty mediate their masculine identity throughviolence.
This can be the result of men in low economical situations not livingup to societies expectations of how a successful man should be and exercisetheir power on their spouses. Education levels of both women and men can berelated to violence in relationship. High levels of education can be adeterring factor for violence in relationships as it shows power deprived fromincome, social status, community roles and education. Many studies have shownthat violence occurs more often in females with lower education levels.
Thereason why women with higher education occur less violence is because theirability to show masculinity in areas such as self-confidence, social networksand their ability to use information or research in society to empowerthemselves and become inferior towards the male species. Studies show that men who arebrought up in the slum of New York City, with little to no employment can be afactor in violence towards women. This can be explained as men whom are raisedin the city, have a certain type of expectation from their parents andgrandparents are being successful. Therefore, ideas of masculinity arereshaped, and emphasize substance use, committing crimes and misogyny. Thenviolence towards women become a social norm, and is then shown as an expressionof male dominance due to their inability to obtain social expectations of malepower due to poverty and unemployment.
An inability to meet social expectationscan trigger a male identity. Therefore, it is fixed once violence is committed,as it helps contain power that they are otherwise denied (Jewkes, 2002). Studies of why males act violent according to HegemonicMasculinity A study of 18 abusive husbands wasstudied, and some of the results are explored to understand why men harm theirspouses.
Participants were aged between 22 to 53 years old and wereworking-class and middle class men. Seven of the men had collage degrees, eightof the others were employed, one was unemployed and other two reported a salaryof only $5,000 for the earlier year. The results showed that five men hadadmitted that they only wanted to hurt someone, and their spouse was the closestperson when their temper escalated. This could be to maintain dominance orpower over their spouses, or obtain their power of masculinity through harmingtheir spouse. Results showed that 67 percentages of the participants usedviolent force to put fear over their spouses, which supports the theoryexplained.
Next, participants stated they had lost control of their anger andtherefore used force to control the situation and excreting dominance. Some ofthe justifications of their lost control were stated, as women were notconducting their duties such as cleaning and cooking appropriately. Next, theystated the women were not being sexually active, or not being respectful enoughtowards them, also not being silent when directed (Bergen, 1998).
This behaviour can be linked to hegemonic masculinity as power, controland dominance is the end result of the abuse towards their partners. A study that wasconducted to measure a connection between traditional masculine gender roleideologies, sexual risks and intimate partner violence in young men showed thatthe around 41.3 percentage of men admitted to intimated partner violence withinthe last year.
The sample contained 354 gentlemen ranging from the ages of 18to 35 years old and from different culture backgrounds. The study then focussedon male ideologies and their need for respect. A statement that said, “It isessential for ma man to get respect from other (Santana, Rai, Decker, La Marche& Silverman, 2006)”, reported that 76 percentage agreed strongly. Anotherstatement was “A man always deserves the respect of his wife and children(Santana, Rai, Decker, La Marche & Silverman, 2006)”, reported that 83.8percentage agreed strongly. Furthermore, 36.4 percentage had stated that menshould only be shown as physically tough and to not like a women 46.
3percentage. This study was designed to show measure male status in society, andit shows that it is consistence with attributes relating to hegemonicmasculinity. Examples can be the expectation of men to be tough physically andmentally, to be anti-femininity, and that males always want to partake in sexualintercourse. A study between opposite sex established thatmales use violence in relationships primary for domination, punishment orcontrol unlike female perpetrators who are motivated by self-defence andretribution for previous violence.
The study contained 215 men, and 66 womenthat have previously been detained for intimate partner violence. 55.4percentage of results show that the reason for violence was consistent withmale ideologies, and stated that they committed violence due to control anddomination, coercive communication, professed ignorance, anger and tension release,physical control and punishment for unwanted behaviour. However, the resultsfor female violence stated that 71.8 percentage due to anger expression,retaliation for previous violence or verbal abuse, effort to communicate, toobtain attention, escape from aggression and self defence (Hamberger, Lohr,Bonge & Tolin, 1997).
The results of this study shows that men use violenceto live up to society’s perception of males, which is to obtain power. However,due to less of society’s influence on females to show masculinity, the use of violenceamong them are used for defence and not to try and be the inferior sex. Conclusion Hegemonic Masculinity created by R.W Connell, is a concept thatrecognizes males dominant personalities and their struggle with society’sperception of how men should be.
This concept explains why and how malesexercise their dominant role over women, and other genders. This concepthowever, has assisted in many studies surrounding male related crimes andviolence throughout the world. Showing that it can be applied to differentareas of interest.
Next, the concept in applied to intimated partner violenceand explains what techniques male use to excess power over women. Differenttypes of situations such as poverty, education levels, social norms, substanceabuse, culture, and anger can be applied to hegemonic masculinity. Some studieswere explored to try and understand the reasoning on why men commit these typesof crimes against women. Therefore, participants and their reasoning to wantingto create fear and dominance showed some explanations and understanding.