P 128 this is the de fi nition that we will call

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(p. 128) This is the de fi nition that we will call ‘hegemonic’ masculinity, the image of masculinity of those men who hold power, which has become the standard in psychological evaluations, sociological research, and self-help and advice literature for teaching young men to become ‘real men’ (Connell, 1987). The hegemonic de fi nition of manhood is a man in power, a man with power, and a man of power. We equate manhood with being strong, successful, capable, reliable, in control. The very de fi nitions of manhood we have developed in our culture maintain the power that some men have over other men and that men have over women. Our culture’s de fi nition of masculinity is thus several stories at once. It is about the individual man’s quest to accumulate those cul- tural symbols that denote manhood, signs that he has in fact achieved it. It is about those standards being used against women to prevent their inclusion in public life and their consignment to a devalued private sphere. It is about the di ff erential access that di ff erent types of men have to those cultural resources that confer manhood and about how each of these groups then develop their own modi fi cations michael s. kimmel 184
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to preserve and claim their manhood. It is about the power of these de fi nitions themselves to serve to maintain the real-life power that men have over women and that some men have over other men. [. . .] But we keep trying, valiantly and vainly, to measure up. American masculinity is a relentless test. 3 [. . .] Whatever the variations by race, class, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, being a man means ‘not being like women.’ This notion of anti-femininity lies at the heart of contemporary and historical conceptions of manhood, so that masculinity is de fi ned more by what one is not rather than who one is. ......................................................................................................................... MASCULINITY AS THE FLIGHT FROM THE FEMININE ......................................................................................................................... Historically and developmentally, masculinity has been de fi ned as the ight from women, the repudiation of femininity. Since Freud, we have come to understand that developmentally the central task that every little boy must confront is to develop a secure identity for himself as a man. [. . .] Masculinity, in this model, is irrevocably tied to sexuality. The boy’s sexuality will now come to resemble the sexuality of his father (or at least the way he imagines his father)—menacing, predatory, posses- sive, and possibly punitive. The boy has come to identify with his oppressor; now he can become the oppressor himself. But a terror remains, the terror that the young man will be unmasked as a fraud, as a man who has not completely and irrevocably separated from mother. It will be other men who will do the unmasking. Failure will de-sex the man, make him appear as not fully a man. He will be seen as a wimp, a Mama’s boy, a sissy. [. . .] The ight from femininity is angry and frightened, because mother can so easily emasculate the young boy by her power to render him dependent, or at least to remind him of dependency. It is relentless; manhood becomes a lifelong quest to demonstrate its achievement, as
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