Masculinity, the male counterpart to femininity , encompasses all that is considered appropriate or is often associated with being male (“Masculine”). Men, by sex , are expected to be masculine. Many men express masculine traits to show appreciation for their own male sex. Biological men, or those with male genitals, who are masculine take on the <gender> of a man, as well. A masculine man might be considered a “man’s man.” Women who take have masculine qualities might be considered “butch” or “handsome,” and may be referred to as a “tomboy.”
The word masculinity originated in the mid-14th century, referring to both the male grammatical gender and the male sex.
Masculinity is made up of a number of stereotypes and expectations of manliness. The following are traits that often represent masculinity: social domination, strength, intimidating height and size, assertion, competition, courage, and violence; logic, rationality, independence, and focus on money and career; insensitivity, apathy, and possession of emotional control. (Foss, Domenico, and Foss 57) (“Sociology: Gender Stereotypes”)
Men who hope to be considered masculine face a number of pressures. They are expected to possess stereotypically masculine traits, and often hold themselves and others to high standards of physical and emotional strength, as well as professional and sexual prowess. These pressures, which can come from external and internal sources, drive some men who feel inadequate to overcompensate. Violence is sometimes the result, and can cause significant disparity between men and women. Those men feel the need to exercise their power over women, as well as one another, to express their masculinity — to prove themselves as a man.
Examples in Herland
There are three given examples of male stereotypes in Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Terry is a “man’s man,” arguably the most masculine of the bunch. Van describes Terry as being all about girls (Gilman 6), and, while being generous, brave, and clever, Terry would be “the limit” when men might consider who their sisters could date (Gilman 8). Jeff is a “momma’s boy,” holding great respect for women’s duties and roles, as he sees them. Jeff, who idealizes women, is described as sentimental and chivalrous (Gilman 8). Van might be viewed as the “everyman,” lacking outrageous opinions of women as his companions do. He describes himself as scientific and highly logical regarding sex (Gilman 8).
The idea of masculinity has shifted in contemporary society. Strength, domination, independence, and control are still considered desirable, masculine traits, but a new persona, the hyper masculine “bro,” has emerged as well. The central attribute of a “bro” lifestyle is being a bachelor. These men are a variant of the “man’s man.” They spend their time with multiple sexual partners, tend to condemn and debase homosexuality, and put much less emphasis on career and family values than a traditional man. Websites such as <mylifeisbro.com> and <brobible.com> document and encourage this lifestyle of “bro,” which is defined on <urbandictionary.com> as “an alpha male,” “a Caucasian male, typically ages 15-24,” and, in a number