In the 1980s research on men shifted from studying the “male sex role” and masculinity as a singular trait to studying how men enact diverse masculinities. This research has examined men's behavior as gendered beings in many contexts, from intimate relationships to the workplace to global politics. We consider the strengths and weaknesses of the multiple masculinities approach, proposing that further insights into the social construction of gender and the dynamics of male domination can be gained by focusing analytic attention on manhood acts and how they elicit deference from others. We interpret the literature in terms of what it tells us about how males learn to perform manhood acts, about how and why such acts vary, and about how manhood acts reproduce gender inequality. We end with suggestions for further research on the practices and processes through which males construct the category “men” and themselves as its members.

Keyword(s): feminismgenderidentityinequalitypower

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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