The Encyclopedia of Gender and Society defines hegemonic masculinity as a set of practices and societal norms that are seen as “masculine” and that are dominant in society. Hegemonic masculinity is a gender performance and regulates what it is to be a real ‘man’. Hegemonic masculinity is seen as the ultimate form of masculinity, one that embodies aggression, competition, physical strength, power and dominance. In the reading Gender: A Sociological Reader, Connell articulates that “the most important feature of contemporary hegemonic masculinity is that it is heterosexual, being closely connected to the institution of marriage; and a key form of subordinated masculinity is homosexual”.
In the YouTube video ‘Commercials that show Hegemonic Masculinity’ a series of advertisements are shown that portray hegemonic masculine men as men that don’t cook, men who smell like other men and men who are ultimately the heroes of the day. Hegemonic Masculinity is prioritized frequently in advertising, television and film. This can be seen in the YouTube video ‘Hegemonic Masculinity in Surfer Magazine’. The video shows how hegemonic masculinity is represented in a surf magazine, in which men are rewarded for their masculine behaviour, while women who present the same type of behaviour have their masculinity downplayed.
Hegemonic masculinity can be seen in many public spaces such as in the workplace and in sport. The website Emasculated states that “in business, it is expected for a man to be the head of the company” and that in sport “ideal masculinity is usually portrayed through athletes who are powerful, popular, successful, and married to beautiful, popular women”. As hegemonic masculinity continues to dominate throughout our culture it’s important that we are aware of the way our bodily practices and gender normitivity contributes to the power it holds.