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  1. Various notions about the construction of masculinity(ies)
  2. The relationship between men and power
  3. Analyses of the construction of masculinity as conducted by Andrew Toltson
  4. Conclusion

The art critic and author John Berger, known in particular for his introductory essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing , discusses a ?promise of power?, which lies at the centre of a network of conventional masculine characteristics: authority, competitiveness, aggression, self-assertion and physical strength .
?According to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome, the social presence of a woman is different in kind from that of a man. A man's presence is dependent upon the promise of power which he embodies. ?
Berger carries on saying that this ?presence?, this ?certain style of behaviour? would become part of an internal self-image influencing his social and intimate life notably in men's relations with women and in seduction. In his essay Man enough ? embodying Masculinities , Victor Seidler further affirms that this point:
?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??.
Following the line of this quotation, the subject of this essay focuses on the relationship between men and power, and the construction of masculinity which is at its origin. The relationship between genders and power is indeed the keystone of gender studies since the domination of men in the public and private arenas is a common feature in all feminist movements. Gender studies are political because they focus on the question of power ? as Anna Yeatman states ?If feminism is politics, it is politics in its broad conception as relations of power ? ? arguing that power is gender-related. Access to public decision-making in political, economic and social sectors would be reserved for men.

[...] Berger focuses particularly on depictions of women in advertisements and oil paintings, which has been particularly useful for feminist readings of popular culture. Ways of Seeing is considered to be a seminal text for current studies of visual culture, art history. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ways_of_Seeing) Andrew Tolson, The limits of Masculinity, (London: Tavistock Publications, 1977), p.8. John Berger (1972) in Ways of Seeing, cited in Andrew Tolson, The limits of Masculinity, (London: Tavistock Publications, 1977), p.7. Victor J. Seidler, Man enough Embodying Masculinities, (London: SAGE Publications, 1997). [...]


[...] In this first section I will focus on the construction of masculinity. What is a man? What does it mean to become a man? How does one become a man? After briefly recalling the constructionist approach, I will try to define masculinity and to explain how masculinity is constructed to better understand the roots of the relationship between men and power. The distinction between sex, which is a matter of biology, and gender, which is a set of culturally and socially defined characteristics, has been central to gender theory. [...]


[...] He is a media creation. The idea was that young men could be ?liberated? from the constraints of their sex roles and could wear perfume, maybe even make-up, suffer from eating disorders without being labelled gay. Men would be encouraged to get in touch with their emotions without reference to women. Lynn Segal[30] argues that this is a response to feminism and, more centrally, to the culture of homosexuality. In fact, gendered identities have continuously been subject to a process of reinterpretation and are never static. [...]


[...] Zalta URL = . Nickie Charles, Gender in Modern Britain, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), chapters 6 and 7. Robert Connell, Masculinities, (Cambridge, Polity Press, 1995). Andrea Cornwall, masculinity, and ?gender in development? in Caroline Sweetman, Men and Masculinity, (Oxford: Oxfam, 1997), p. 8-13. Gonzalo Falabella G., masculinity: a different route?, in Caroline Sweetman, Men and Masculinity, (Oxford: Oxfam, 1997), p.62-64. Lynne Segal, Slow Motion Changing Masculinities, Changing Men, (London: Virago, 1990). Victor J. Seidler, Man enough Embodying Masculinities, (London: SAGE Publications, 1997). [...]


[...] The relationship between genders and power is indeed the keystone of gender studies since the domination of men in the public and private arenas is a common feature in all feminist movements. Gender studies are political because they focus on the question of power as Anna Yeatman states feminism is politics, it is politics in its broad conception as relations of power[5]? arguing that power is gender- related. Access to public decision-making in political, economic and social sectors would be reserved for men. However, this is changing; women are increasingly in powerful positions in public life, industry or media. [...]

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