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Gender as a Structure of Social Practice - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Gender as a structure of social practice From an early age, society dictates to us what it means to be a man. The concept of masculinity is defined by society as that which is the polar opposite of femininity. Phrases such as ‘boys don’t cry’ are drilled into psyches from an early age and have become truisms…
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Gender as a Structure of Social Practice
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Download file to see previous pages Hegemony refers to the subordination of one group by another by mere implication that the other is greater. Hegemonic masculinity is exemplified in patriarchal systems where government is controlled by men. Narrowing down to hegemony among groups of men brings up the concept of subordination. The best example of subordinated masculinity is gay masculinity. Homosexual men in society are subordinate to heterosexual men who dominate society (Connell, p. 78). Complicity refers to the quiet acceptance by men of hegemonic structures because they benefit them at the expense of women. Marginalization brings into play class and race as factors that affect the masculinity of an individual. For example, black masculinity in the United States of America is marginalized by white hegemonic masculinity that holds economic power. Black men become associated with poverty, crime, violence, prison and other negative traits (Connell, p.79). Quentin Tarantino’s crime movie Pulp Fiction, considered a classic study of society’s underworld, contains outstanding examples of how society constructs masculinity. All the leading characters are male. The movie has been said to glorify violence among men; all the men in the movie are either career criminals or commit a crime at some point. The men are not above killing other men to achieve their goals, and do not hesitate to physically and emotionally abuse women. To illustrate the workings of Connell’s theory of masculinity, the focus is on the movie’s crime boss, Marcellus Wallace. Marcellus, a black character, is the biggest crime boss in the area. From the onset, he illustrates marginalization masculinity; a black man in oppressed America can only rise to immense wealth and power through crime. It is implied that Marcellus has risen to the top by being ruthless, cold and calculating. He also has a beautiful white trophy wife, played by Uma Thurman. His wealth qualifies him to marry a white woman, representing marginalization masculinity as manifested in the fantasy of the black man as a sexual predator of white women. Black men such as Marcellus actualize the worst fears of the white men in the hegemonic repressive system; taking their women. The ideology here is that a black man has to be extremely wealthy and successful to qualify to marry a white woman as a way of breaking society’s restrictions. Marcellus as boss of the underworld deals in different criminal operations such as drug rings, extortion, prostitution and gambling dens. He represents complicity to hegemonic masculinity as he has adapted the system to his benefit. The businesses he conducts involve prostitution, a form of exploitation of desperate women. He uses these women to enrich himself. He further illustrates hegemonic masculinity by controlling his wife’s every move and treating her like personal property. She has round-the-clock bodyguards under the guise of protection; in reality, he guards her jealously and monitors her every move. His paranoid actions seem justified however, when one of his henchmen succeeds in seducing his wife. To men like Marcellus, women are one more thing to be owned and used. Marcellus also treats his henchmen and underlings as disposable, illustrating further compliance to the hegemonic system. He does not hesitate to order assassinations of those who displease him. When a boxer, who was supposed to throw a match, played by Bruce Willis, ends up killing the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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