Changing Heroic Masculanities


I read about masculinity in the Victorian times in one of my courses at school and have been wondering what shaped the notions of masculinity in the 19th century and has the very framework of those notions changed!

The concept of masculinity in Victorian times was diverse as it was influenced by factors like economy, gender roles, imperialism, etc. There were gentlemen by birth if not by behavior. Being a gentleman by class is unthinkable ofThe concept of masculinity today is not as sharp and distinct as it was and has lost the meaning it held in Victorian times where the roles were distinct. Middle class and labor class men both worked outside whereas women stayed at home taking care of household needs. The dominant position of men and the subordination of women was the norm.

I read somewhere that in those times a woman’s performance of femininity worked as a guarantee for a man’s performance of masculinity.

Hegemonic masculinity prevalent then has undergone drastic changes. A hegemonic male represented an ideal man. He was a bread-winner, was tough and violent, contradictory, rich, crisis-prone, and socially sustained. But such men were rare.

And now, there are hardly any. Masculinity has overlapped with femininity as more and more men help in household work and women are bread- earners. The distinct line has been erased. The gender interplay does not leave any scope or need for such gender-biased roles. A great many men are not violent toward their wives and bring their accustomed share of earning home. Such men are considered truly masculine in today’s times.

2 thoughts on “Changing Heroic Masculanities

  1. Wonder how this comment and a very important question escaped my notice. I apologize.
    I was re-reading this blog post of mine and I want to update quite a few points mentioned herein. I agree with what you say about gender roles not changing universally and will incorporate this into my updated post. Thanks so much!

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