Hegemonic Masculinity

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The term “hegemonic masculinity” comes from the work of Australian men’s studies researcher R.W. Connell, who, meanwhile, has become a woman. Connell describes four basic patterns of how men deal with one another: hegemony, subordination, complicity, and marginalization. Men behave hegemonically if they exclude or subordinate women and “lowerranking” men, and ensure their own dominance by possession of weapons and the use of violence. In many places gay men are marginalized; they are subjected to discrimination and subordination in a predominantly heterosexual society, as do blacks in a “white” system and proletarians in a bourgeois society.

Connell’s basic idea is that all men, even those who live with subordinate or complicit masculinity, profit from the so-called “patriarchal dividend.” But it is hegemonic man who profits the most; he is the only one perfectly adapted to this system, the one who reaches its summit.

Robert W. Connell (1999): The Made Man: Construction and Crisis of Maleness, p. 98.

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