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For sociologists, masculinity is not bound up with or innate to male‐sexed bodies. It is a social construct – an ideal image of manhood that is culturally specific and historically variable, but is generally situated in relation to, and characterized by, an absence of femininity. Central to sociological discussions of masculinity is the theorization of men's power, and how this is asserted, enacted against, or obtained at the expense of women, other men, and people of all genders. Accordingly, the study of masculinity is a key component of social research that aims to explain and tackle, among other things, gendered family violence, unequal divisions of labor, gendered workplace outcomes in pay and status, homophobia, and the physical and mental health effects of men's valorization of toughness, stoicism, heterosexism, (economic) self‐sufficiency, and constrained emotionality. Understanding how masculinity changes over time is also a key ambition for sociologists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
Place of PublicationNew Jersey USA
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781405165518
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020

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