Special Topics: Women's Studies
Professor Soyoung Park
What is Masculinity?
The familiar idea of masculinity can be linked to common cultural and social belief; however, it is not real masculinity. How can one define masculinity, then? Judith Halberstam, in her article An Introduction to Female Masculinity states that true masculinity has many alternate forms and that by examining these gender deviations, then perhaps the concept of masculinity can be better understood.In order to begin to comprehend the differences in masculine behavior, the most common idea of masculinity must be dissected: "Masculinity seems to extend outward into patriarchy and inward into the family; masculinity represent the power of inheritance, the consequences of the traffic in women, and the promise of social privilege" (Halberstam, 3). In our patriarchal society, genetically male, heterogeneous people are considered the only types to be able to achieve masculinity. Femininity is reserved for genetically female, heterogeneous people.
Masculinity is not strictly a male-oriented attribute. Females can be masculine, as well. I myself identify as a masculine, female lesbian. Does this mean I take on all the features of masculinity? No, of course not.
It is tricky to pinpoint what is truly masculine and what is not, aside from how society deems masculinity and femininity as completely separate.
Also, check out the neat video of Judith/Jack Halberstam: The intro lists a few of Halberstam's works (published and in progress)