“But by far the worst thing we do to males—by making them feel they have to be hard—is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.” 

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

  1. Gender roles are often accepted as simply the way things are and have always have been. From this perspective, change goes again biological inclinations and social traditions and is worth resisting.

  2. Masculinity is one half of the gender duality which exists at the foundation of [Western] culture.

  3. Studies of, and courses examining, men and masculinity remain less common within academia.

  4. Masculinity can and is performed by male-bodies, female-bodies, women, and men, and categories resisting the binary model.


This seminar-style course explores the construction and performance of masculinity across both time and space. In doing so we reconsider the idea that gender is a fixed reality. Through engaging with key readings from sociology, geography, and gender studies, we will examine a multitude of institutional and interactional contexts that create, preserve, and alter gender norms in society, including schools, work, sports, and the media. In doing so, we will look at the position of men in society and ways that masculinity both enables certain experiences while limiting others. We will also reflect on the reoccurring idea that masculinity is in crisis. I hope you find Questioning Masculinity to be one of the most enjoyable and thought provoking courses at Brockport.

My goal is to have helped you: 

  • Identify the difference between sex and gender.

  • Understand what it means for masculinity to be socially constructed.

  • Understand what it means for gender to be a dimension of social stratification
    and how gender is related to power and inequality.

  • Understand why an intersectional framework that takes into account other dimensions of stratification is important for examining the experience of being a gendered being.

  • Understand how men, women, and non-binary groups are empowered/limited by their gender.

  • Understand the role of social institutions and organizations in maintaining, challenging, and altering gender ideologies and norms in society.

  • Make connections between course materials and your own experiences. Most importantly, this course is an opportunity to think through and discuss difficult issues that continue to shape our country and the people who inhabit it.

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