Mask On, Mask Off

“Rather than annihilating masculinity or even mildly diminishing it, we should be getting out the tools and reforming the economic and political machinery” -Raewyn Connell

Human beings have been bred to believe particular hand picked “truths” about masculinities and the function those play within our male-dominated society. The mere fact that it is so challenging for individuals to discern whether or not masculinities are inherent in men is a direct reflection of the misunderstandings about gender that people still hold. Yet, these misunderstandings are the basic constructs of what their identities are formed by.

In her book Masculinities, Raewyn Connell notes that the struggle we face as a people is not trying to rid ourselves of the concept of masculinity, but instead to reform our beliefs about it. Connell stresses how deeply we constrain ourselves when we recognize masculinity as only existing in men’s characters, while refusing to acknowledge its existence in the personalities of women. Connell notes that to try to eradicate masculinity would be unreasonable because of how involved and intertwined it is within our society, in both men and women’s lives. In order to push forward in an effort to reform the “economic and political machinery,” Connell argues for us to teach and preach about the topic instead. The territory is certainly tricky to cover, though, because hegemonic masculinity has been so deeply embedded in humanity. Resistance is likely to be met, as Connell puts it. Therefore, the unavoidable strategy would be to de-gender in an “attempt to dismantle hegemonic masculinity” (Connell 232).

 

Connell, Raewyn. Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2005. Print.

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