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Gender, sexuality and politics: masculinity

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  1. Introduction
  2. The link between the notion of power and the vision of masculinity
  3. The distinction between sex
  4. The analysis and the debate about the constructionist approach
  5. The relationship between men and power
    1. Foucault: The first to conceptualize and theorize masculinity
    2. Analysis based on the concept of power we choose
    3. Ideologies of masculinity
  6. Making the concept of masculinity radically independent of males
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

?Somehow we need to be able to acknowledge the power that men have in society without thereby feeding a myth that all men feel powerful in their individual lives?we also have to recognize our inherited sense of superiority in relation to women?? (Seidler, 1997, p.51-53).

[...] We can recall a whole repertoire of popular phrases and aphorisms: ?Take it like a boy don't Despite that, defining masculinity is not an easy task. It is not simply the opposite of ?femininity? and there are different types of masculine identity according to the culture. I will focus here on the Western, industrialised and capitalist societies where the defined model for respectable adult masculinity was based on ?quite separate roles for husband and wife? with the husband being the provider[10]. [...]

[...] Because of the form in which masculinity appears and of the specific ways in which masculine feelings are structured, a boy begins to feel the need to ?prove himself?[17] and equates the concept of being a man to the concept of being powerful. I am now going to examine the relationship between men and power by searching for what is virile or masculine in the notion of power, and why and how power and genders/masculinity are connected. As I said in the introduction, gender theorists argue that power is gender-related. [...]

[...] In this essay, I shall argue that the notion of power has been very strongly linked with the vision of masculinity that is developed during socialisation and gender construction. Masculinity tends to balance on the definition of power as domination. I shall also prove that this relationship is changing, on one hand because more women accede to powerful positions and on the other hand because following this trend the interpretation of power is transforming. This leads to a profound change in masculinity, a kind of crisis at the root of masculinity movements. [...]

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