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New masculinities: what they are and what is proposed in them

New masculinities: what they are and what is proposed in them

October 1, 2022

Among the contributions and controversies that have emerged from feminist approaches, especially feminism that advocates the diversity of identities, a line of research and action has arisen. begins to be known as "New Masculinities" .

This line has allowed to rethink different practices related to gender and to understand more specifically the masculine subjectivities that have consolidated as hegemonic and sometimes violent. In this way and in some spaces, it has been possible to act politically and therapeutically to counteract this.

Although it is something that is in development, we can outline here some antecedents and proposals that have emerged, as well as important fields of action.

  • Related article: "Types of feminism and its different currents of thought"

The New Masculinities: response to a crisis

Gender approaches cause discomfort. They interfere because they question our places in the world, they force us to rearrange subjective positions, that is, identities and relationships between one and the other. In this sense, they are discomforts that generate a "productive discomfort" (Sánchez, 2017).

If we analyze the social transformations of recent years, and especially look at the violent practices with which many men have tried to reaffirm their own virility; we can notice that masculinity is in a crisis .

Crisis that is especially visible in violence against women, but that is also related to different gender discomforts experienced by men themselves. Gender approaches have allowed us to pay attention to this. They make it possible to understand some specific questions about relationships, subjectivities and discomforts that have been constructed through gender binarism.

Until recently, the focus on gender perspectives had been focused only on women and in femininity. Masculinity and its values ​​had remained untouchable. It became necessary then to create models that offered new places and roles (more equitable and more free of violence) that not only focused on the experience of women.

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An alternative to hegemonic masculinity?

The New Masculinities emerge as an alternative to hegemonic masculinity. The term "hegemonic masculinity" refers to dominant masculine behaviors, which includes the most traditional models of domination by gender ; based, for example, on mandates such as "men do not cry", "they are always brave", "nothing feminine", "unquestionably heterosexual", etc.

In other words, it is the values, beliefs, attitudes, myths, stereotypes or behaviors that legitimize the power and authority of men over women (and over all others who are not heterosexual men).

The hegemonic masculinity is what has given rise to a whole form of political and social organization based on the idea of ​​male leadership and the predominance of the worldview over other forms of life.

However, such hegemony can also be reproduced in models that are presented as alternative and new (and not only in traditional masculinity), which is why the very concept of New Masculinities is constantly revised. Thus, one of the bases for the rethinking of masculinity is its self-reflective and critical capacity towards the different models, values, practices and experiences of masculinity.

In short, they are known as New Masculinities because they try to consolidate experiences and alternative practices to hegemonic masculinity.

Political and therapeutic action centered on the masculine experience

It is quite common for men to take on the task of teaching women what to do to stop being violated. But this often happens from the prohibition, and from the convenience of the man himself (do not wear such clothing, do not go out alone, do not talk in such a way, etc.).

Given this, in one way or another many women have explained that the way to stand in solidarity with feminist struggles, and against gender violence, is not by that way; among other things because the recommendations are made from experiences completely unrelated to gender violence , that in the end reproduce the same domination.

This has not only been expressed by women, but many men have responded by creating paths based on their own experience, which translate into political and therapeutic actions.

Rethink gender models

In general terms, we try to generate collective rethinking of gender (specifically around masculinity) as a political action to address some phenomena related to gender violence and discomfort, from the masculine experience of men.

In other words, it's about "deconstructing" hegemonic masculinity . That is, make aware of the historical and structural conditions that have generated gender inequalities and violence, and individually take charge of what corresponds.

For example, to assume when they have participated in said violence and collectively seek some strategies to avoid them. Or, pooling one's own vulnerability by making experiences and gender discomforts explicit; and from there, articulate them with the experiences and discomforts of the other gender and the non-hegemonic sexulalides.

New Masculinities or Hybrid Masculinities?

The concept of New Masculinities has generated many debates. For example, Jokin Azpiazu, pioneer in the rethinking of the masculine gender , suggests that the idea of ​​the New Masculinities is better understood through the concept of "hybrid masculinities", initially proposed by the sociologist C.J. Pascoe

This last term refers to the fact that masculinities should not be presented as new, but that the effort should be towards incorporating non-hegemonic elements that generate new models and relationships.

Otherwise, there is a risk of adapting the same hegemonic masculinity to the new needs posed by gender approaches, which ultimately generates new forms of domination. That is, seemingly innocuous practices but that finally reproduce the same inequality structures .

In the same sense, the author reflects on whether it is necessary to claim a different masculinity, or if it is more a matter of problematizing masculinity as a whole.

Bibliographic references:

  • Collective Men and New Masculinities (2018). We. Know our actions and philosophy. Retrieved May 8, 2018. Available at //
  • Sánchez, J. (2017). Masculinity and feminism: a space of "productive discomfort". Retrieved May 8, 2018. Available at //
  • Bergara, A., Riviere, J. and Bacete, R. (2008). Men, equality and new masculinities. Emakunde Basque Institute for Women: Vitoria.
  • Segarra, M. and Carabí (Eds). (2000). New masculinities Icara: Barcelona.

Redefining masculinity | Shane Horsburgh | TEDxCanberra (October 2022).

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