Saturday, July 12, 2008

U of U Researcher Studies Masculinity

This is interesting. from KCPW.

U of U Researcher Studies Masculinity

Just as drag queens puts on a guise of femininity, heterosexual men are also in masculine drag, says University of Utah doctoral student William Elder. He's studying how men learn this behavior - and un-learn it in their intimate relationships with women.

"Masculinity is a performance. It's never something you will fully establish, never a magic star or a tattoo you are going to be able to put on your body that says ‘100-percent, Grade-A Man,'" Elder says. "So you wake up every morning and you start new. You're going to have to show other people through a series of actions and things that you say, how butch you are, how rugged you are."

Elder is recruiting men to share their experiences about how they learned to relate to women and what they've learned from those relationships to uncover some of the fundamental concepts of masculinity. Elder says he launched the study to demystify the concept, remove the guilt associated with it, and improve therapy approaches for men. One of the study subjects, Jim Asbrand, says it's interesting that in all-male environments, such as college fraternities, men break out of the stereotypically masculine role.

"You know, you want to fit the mold, right. You want to belong. And in order to belong, the perception is that you need to engage in those behaviors," Asbrand says. "But once you develop those relationships, and once there aren't any women around, it is interesting and surprising how close some of those relationships become."

Elder is looking for about 10 more heterosexual men from diverse religious and socio-economic backgrounds to participate in the study. He would like to do a similar study for homosexual men in the future. Click here to e-mail Elder for information about the study.

Any thoughts on this? On masculinity as performance? Or maybe in Jungian terms, as a mask?

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