Negotiations between progressive and ‘traditional’ expressions of masculinity among young Australian men

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This article draws on feminist theory and critical studies on men and masculinities to explore expressions of masculinity among young, relatively privileged men between the ages of 20 and 29 in Australia. Narrative interviews conducted with these men in 2014 revealed assertions of progressive attitudes alongside reworkings of more hegemonic expressions of masculinity. In particular, participants demonstrated distancing from ideas of protest masculinity and spoke of iterations of softer masculinities in relation to their work lives and friendships. At the same time, they borrowed or co-opted aspects of a perceived version of protest masculinity, such as ‘hard work for hard bodies’. Through such practices and beliefs, participants could juggle contradictory requirements of masculinity in late modernity and perpetuate more privileged modes of masculinity. This article argues that sociological attention must continue to be focused on ongoing, privileged expressions of masculinity, even as encouraging changes emerge in late modern, post-industrial societies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-123
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • hegemonic masculinity
  • hybrid masculinity
  • masculinity
  • men
  • men’s bodies
  • privilege

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