Introduction wealth, and how they legitimate and reproduce the


This essay will outline the basic understanding of hegemonic
masculinity and the impacts it has on society and individuals. The main focus
of this essay will involve around the concept of hegemonic masculinity by Raewyn
Connell. This perception will be explored in varies ways to help describe different
areas of interest. Next, this concept will be applied to opposite sex intimate
partner violence. This theory will be applied to this certain group, and help
create an understanding on why this type of violence occurs and how hegemonic
masculinity is related or be the cause of these incidents.

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What is Hegemonic Masculinity?

            Raewyn Connell is currently known
for the work surrounding hegemonic masculinity, and is currently a professor in
Sydney Australia. She had generated this concept from her gender order theory,
which recognizes masculinity throughout time, culture and the person. The
nature of the term ‘hegemonic’ comes from a theory of culture hegemonic that
was created by Marxist philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci that
investigates society and the power among different classes and groups.

Therefore, ‘hegemonic’ explains the social group claims, and the dominant and
leading position in a social hierarchy. The definition of masculinity is a
possession of qualities that are associated by men.

This concept is explains why women are subordination to men, and
shows how men in society have a dominant position. Theoretically, it explains
why men hold an inferior position over women, and other gender identities (Connell,
2005). However, this theory does not always mean control over women in their
relationships, but can be defined as “a question of
how particular groups of men inhabit positions of power and wealth, and how
they legitimate and reproduce the social relationships that generate their dominant
(Donaldson, p655, 1993).”  Therefore, it can be dominated over men in
different situations such as social conflicts, military and business’. The
three primary proportions of hegemonic masculinity which men vary in their
adherence are,  “(a) status, which reflects men’s belief that
they must gain the respect from others, (b) toughness, which reflects men’s
belief that they must appear aggressive and physically and emotionally strong,
and (c) antifemininity, which reflects men’s belief that they should avoid
stereotypically feminine behaviours (Lisco, Leone,
Gallagher & Parrott, 2015)”.

The cultural specific idea of masculinity can
be described as for example a white, athletic heterosexual male whom is
successful and financially stable, therefore makes a social framework for males
in society to live up to this expectation of society (Peralta,
Tuttle & Steele, 2010).  The perception of ‘manhood’ that were in
western society, showed that their were personal codes and an foundation for
masculine 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 3
decades and can be described as hierarchy of authority, power and recognition
among males and women (Hegemonic masculinity, 2011). This notion has been used
in educational studies, to describe why young boys bully and patterns of
conflict. It has also helped theorize a connection between different sums of
crimes linking to masculinity. The studies hegemonic masculinity has been used
in are crimes committed by men or boys such as rape in Switzerland, football
“hooliganism, white-collar crime in England, murder in Australia and assaultive
violence in the United States. Furthermore, it was applied while studying men
and how they were represented on the media. Examples could be sporting, and war
imagery. This concept was used to help explain different masculinities and
applying them to different sports such as body contact sports that contained
violence, which promoted masculinity (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005).


Intimated Partner Violence


            Many individuals consider strangers
present majority of offences, however in reality many crimes are committed in
our own homes behind shut doors. Around 1.5 million women, and 800,000 men are
a result of intimate partner violence each year, according to a survey
conducted by the National Violence Against Women (Wright, 2011). It is more
common for women to be assaulted by a current or former marital partner than a
stranger (Tjaden & Thoennes,
2000). Women are more likely to be the target, and will
increase over their lifetime and are double chance of being killed by a partner
than men. Women’s partner murdered over 22 percent of women in 2007 and almost
22% of women are somewhat involved in intimate partner violence once in their
lifespan (Wright, 2011). Throughout century’s violence in relationships have
not been uncommon towards women. Many traditions of marriage were that a man
were the dominant species in marriages, and was acceptable to afflict violent
actions on their spouse if they did not obey. Husbands would lead and women
would have to obey in tradition marriages or relationships. However, economical
and social changes have occurred throughout the years to ensure women are equal
to men. Despite the change in society, violence towards women by men still
occurs but is not socially accepted as it once was (Dolan, 1960). It is said
that almost 19 percent of American couples occur intimate violence within a
year, and approximately 11 percentage of violence is in marriages and 6.3
percent happens in non-married couples (Wright, 2011). Majority of
relationships 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, psychological
abuse and physical violence (Jewkes, 2002).  


Hegemonic Masculinity applied to Intimated Partner


Many situations
can be associated with intimated partner violence such as poverty, power and
sex identify. Therefore, hegemonic masculinity will help explain how some
situations of violence occurs against women due to male’s perception of male
dominance. Male to female aggression is said to be a result of society
pressuring males to adhere to a hegemonic masculinity that is dominance over
women and continue patriarchy of men (Lisco, Leone, Gallagher & Parrott,
2015). Therefore, social norms can be one of the leading factors of why men
exercise their masculinity upon women. Young girls or boys whom are brought up
in an environment of abuse, for example watching their mother be a victim of
abuse will allow for them to believe it is a social norm. Therefore, the young
girls will believe it is normal to be dominated by their spouse and tolerate
violence. Furthermore, young boys will believe that males are the superior
species and continue to express their masculinity by physical abuse.

Men whom live in poverty mediate their masculine identity through
violence. This can be the result of men in low economical situations not living
up to societies expectations of how a successful man should be and exercise
their power on their spouses.

             Education levels of both women and men can be
related to violence in relationship. High levels of education can be a
deterring factor for violence in relationships as it shows power deprived from
income, social status, community roles and education. Many studies have shown
that violence occurs more often in females with lower education levels. The
reason why women with higher education occur less violence is because their
ability to show masculinity in areas such as self-confidence, social networks
and their ability to use information or research in society to empower
themselves and become inferior towards the male species.

            Studies show that men who are
brought up in the slum of New York City, with little to no employment can be a
factor in violence towards women. This can be explained as men whom are raised
in the city, have a certain type of expectation from their parents and
grandparents are being successful. Therefore, ideas of masculinity are
reshaped, and emphasize substance use, committing crimes and misogyny. Then
violence towards women become a social norm, and is then shown as an expression
of male dominance due to their inability to obtain social expectations of male
power due to poverty and unemployment. An inability to meet social expectations
can 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 Hegemonic

            A study of 18 abusive husbands was
studied, and some of the results are explored to understand why men harm their
spouses. Participants were aged between 22 to 53 years old and were
working-class and middle class men. Seven of the men had collage degrees, eight
of the others were employed, one was unemployed and other two reported a salary
of only $5,000 for the earlier year. The results showed that five men had
admitted that they only wanted to hurt someone, and their spouse was the closest
person when their temper escalated. This could be to maintain dominance or
power over their spouses, or obtain their power of masculinity through harming
their spouse. Results showed that 67 percentages of the participants used
violent force to put fear over their spouses, which supports the theory
explained. Next, participants stated they had lost control of their anger and
therefore used force to control the situation and excreting dominance. Some of
the justifications of their lost control were stated, as women were not
conducting their duties such as cleaning and cooking appropriately. Next, they
stated the women were not being sexually active, or not being respectful enough
towards them, also not being silent when directed (Bergen, 1998). 
This behaviour can be linked to hegemonic masculinity as power, control
and dominance is the end result of the abuse towards their partners.

            A study that was
conducted to measure a connection between traditional masculine gender role
ideologies, sexual risks and intimate partner violence in young men showed that
the around 41.3 percentage of men admitted to intimated partner violence within
the last year. The sample contained 354 gentlemen ranging from the ages of 18
to 35 years old and from different culture backgrounds. The study then focussed
on male ideologies and their need for respect. A statement that said, “It is
essential for ma man to get respect from other (Santana, Rai, Decker, La Marche
& Silverman, 2006)”, reported that 76 percentage agreed strongly. Another
statement was “A man always deserves the respect of his wife and children
(Santana, Rai, Decker, La Marche & Silverman, 2006)”, reported that 83.8
percentage agreed strongly. Furthermore, 36.4 percentage had stated that men
should only be shown as physically tough and to not like a women 46.3
percentage. This study was designed to show measure male status in society, and
it shows that it is consistence with attributes relating to hegemonic
masculinity. Examples can be the expectation of men to be tough physically and
mentally, to be anti-femininity, and that males always want to partake in sexual

A study between opposite sex established that
males use violence in relationships primary for domination, punishment or
control unlike female perpetrators who are motivated by self-defence and
retribution for previous violence. The study contained 215 men, and 66 women
that have previously been detained for intimate partner violence. 55.4
percentage of results show that the reason for violence was consistent with
male ideologies, and stated that they committed violence due to control and
domination, coercive communication, professed ignorance, anger and tension release,
physical control and punishment for unwanted behaviour. However, the results
for female violence stated that 71.8 percentage due to anger expression,
retaliation for previous violence or verbal abuse, effort to communicate, to
obtain attention, escape from aggression and self defence (Hamberger, Lohr,
Bonge & Tolin, 1997). The results of this study shows that men use violence
to 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 violence
among them are used for defence and not to try and be the inferior sex.



            Hegemonic Masculinity created by R.W Connell, is a concept that
recognizes males dominant personalities and their struggle with society’s
perception of how men should be. This concept explains why and how males
exercise their dominant role over women, and other genders. This concept
however, has assisted in many studies surrounding male related crimes and
violence throughout the world. Showing that it can be applied to different
areas of interest. Next, the concept in applied to intimated partner violence
and explains what techniques male use to excess power over women. Different
types of situations such as poverty, education levels, social norms, substance
abuse, culture, and anger can be applied to hegemonic masculinity. Some studies
were explored to try and understand the reasoning on why men commit these types
of crimes against women. Therefore, participants and their reasoning to wanting
to create fear and dominance showed some explanations and understanding. 


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