Modern Masculinity

2082 Words9 Pages
Introduction: Nowadays, it is widely accepted in academia that there is a distinction between “sex” and “gender” (Esters, 2014). Sex is generally understood as a biological category that divides the human species into males and females (Esters, 2014; APA, 2011). It is hold that this categorization of individuals is based on certain biological indicators of sex, such as the internal reproductive organs, the external genitalia and secondary sex characteristics (e.g. breast size or facial hair). Gender is generally understood as an identity that is associated with a certain sex. This identity is made up of attitudes, feelings and behaviours which are performed by individuals and given meaning by society (Esters, 2014; APA, 2011). Thus, usually,…show more content…
The emergence and institutionalization of this ideal explains why differences between males and females became both socially and politically important. Mosse explains that the ideal of modern masculinity, which was based on ideals from classical antiquity, developed during the Enlightenment (ibid). This ideal, which developed into a stereotype, prescribed what the body and character of an “ideal” man should look like. The stereotype in which the ideal of modern masculinity developed constructed males as rational and able to control their emotions and (sexual) passions. This stereotype was not only defined, but also enforced by its countertype: femininity. This countertype demarcated the boundaries of the masculine stereotype and constructed females as passionate and unable to control their emotions and (sexual) passions. The ideal of modern masculinity, and thus also its countertype (i.e. femininity), became very influential to the Enlightenment society in that they became institutionalized stereotypes, informing people’s image of men and women (ibid). One of the major implications of this was the emergence of the belief that there are inherent and incommensurable differences between males and females. Since this ideal prescribed that males and females were incommensurably different, it directly challenged the one-sex model, leading to its reinterpretation. A concrete example of how this ideal formed a basis for the two-sex model is that it was used to legitimize and even justify the increasingly differentiated social, economic and political roles of males (i.e. “provider” of the household and active in politics) and females (i.e. raising the children and doing the
Open Document