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Policing, a masculine institution

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  1. Introduction
  2. Description
  3. Conclusion

Masculinity is the socially generated consensus of what it means to be a man, to be ?manly? or to display such behavior at any one time (Prokos and Padavic 2002), and policing in the United States is absolutely a masculinist institution. As an organization, it utilizes a certain set of masculine attributes to determine what it means to be a police officer. These characteristics are taught and enforced though many different avenues within the institution. Anything that opposes these masculine characteristics is seen as a threat and is immediately oppressed.

When asked what a police officer must be, many people would say that they must be tough. This idea of being tough has many different connotations, all of them masculine. It can mean physically tough, able to resist physical pain. Being tough can mean being able to handle any situation. It can also be meant to convey strength, as in, a police officer must be tough to overpower an agitated assailant. Still, being tough can be applied to emotions. It is a common conception that a police officer must be able to ?tough it out? when facing an emotionally potent crime scene. These are ideas that are applied only to men and are vacant in our society's idea of what constitutes femininity.

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