Gender is one of the first social categories that youngsters learn in today’s society. Consequently, awareness of gender stereotypes is visible from early childhood on and into maturity. Masculinities and femininities are institutionally structured and elaborated as well as experienced via interactions, making gender ideology more than just individual characteristics. Both masculinity and femininity are regarded as complex characteristics, including gender role stereotyping and adhesion to conventional gender roles norms. All of these concepts are based on preconceptions about male and female beliefs and actions, which are learned when children learn about the world and their responsibilities in it.
To match the patriarchal ideal male construct, Western society prescribes particular traits for men to have in order to fit in. This process begins at a very young age, and optimal masculinity is defined as being related to hardness, stoicism, and heterosexuality. It is also defined as having a lack of emotional sensitivity and being socially connected. Male role models, societal standards, besides the larger social and cultural environment are all ways that boys learn to become men. To adhere to the ideal masculine ethic, males are constantly under pressure; however, people would not like it from their perspective.
The expression of emotions is often done through violence and aggressiveness in the early years of life. Men’s aggressiveness evolves through time into a need to demonstrate their dominance over others, especially when their masculinity is challenged. In addition, masculine values such as the restriction of emotional expression, as well as conformity pressures such as dominance and aggressiveness, may increase the likelihood that boys may be involved in general acts of violence. In every society, women have a lower position than males. These assumptions lead to the conclusion that men and women have vastly different job roles. There are still significant societal and cultural conventions that maintain power inequalities between men and women around the world (Bozkurt, Safak, and Glenn 257).
In spite of the fact that males tend to be more independent than women, their decisions and actions are heavily influenced by rigorous societal and cultural expectations about what it means to be masculine. From a patriarchal worldview, males are viewed as the center of reason and normality. To see masculinity as an aspect of gender formation and to perceive males as gendered is not surprising. When people talk about masculinities, they are talking about men’s place in the gender hierarchy. In every element of life, gender has a profound impact on everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. This also applies to males. It is impossible to understand gender-based violence without taking into account societal structures and gender norms as well as supporting or promoting roles.
When it comes to staying safe, rape culture places the weight of safety on women’s shoulders and blames them when they fail. Because of this, women are denied some possibilities, while others are constrained by expensive safety precautions, including not traveling for business networking unless they can afford to pay for a separate hotel room. It is also important to note that while rape culture has its roots in the long-standing patriarchal power systems that were meant to favor the male gender in the past, it also burdens males today. Also excluded from legal protection and social assistance are male victims. Rape culture is not a new phenomenon.
While it is important to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and the impunity that allows it to grow, rape culture’s issues run far deeper than that (Johnson and Dawn 2). Manhood is institutionalized, and women are objectified as a result of gender norms that affirm males as sexual pursuers and mindsets that see women as sexual conquests.
Women’s oppression is at the forefront of the public and international conversation on gender equality, as it should be. Traditional masculine preconceptions must also be addressed in order to prevent gender inequalities from spreading globally. Including men and boys in the conversation about gender norms helps to better grasp the various ways that strict gender norms and power relations burden society and more effectively involve men and boys in thoughts on inequality and change. When males are encouraged to examine their socially constructed gender profiles, they can learn how their social duties might affect gender equality.
This will entail examining the societal entrenchment of masculine stereotypes and their influence on women. Since poor male socialization and violence are linked, people must promote prevention initiatives to resist the harmful normative pressures boys encounter and understand gender-related social norms. Positive masculine constructions may be replaced with positive masculine constructs in childhood, which has the potential to avoid the manifestation of violent behavior in youth and maturity.
When it comes to going forward with these initiatives, understanding men’s views, especially how they have evolved and their areas of resistance, is critical to success. Gender inequity persists across the world, although research suggests that men’s views toward gender equality have shifted significantly for the better.
Recent years have seen an increased focus on establishing community-based initiatives aimed at ideas, behaviors, and conventions that contribute to gender inequality and violence against women and girls. There is a reduction of gender disparities through mild changes in individual attitudes, behaviors, and the dynamics of partner relationships. Instead of a fundamental shift in their views or matching norms regarding gender roles and male leadership, men’s behavior is likely to have been largely driven by these imagined gains. Deconstructing patriarchal norms is necessary for long-term reform of gender disparities, discrimination, as well as violence.
Bozkurt, Veysel, Safak Tartanoglu, and Glenn Dawes. “Masculinity and violence: Sex roles and violence endorsement among university students.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 205 (2015): 254-260.
Johnson, Nicole L., and Dawn M. Johnson. “An empirical exploration into the measurement of rape culture.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36.1-2 (2021): NP70-NP95.