Masculinity and Femininity – Collins Theory

Masculinity and femininity are social identities that are assigned to an individual. As individuals become socialized they develop a gender identity, they view themselves in relation to societal gender norms. This requires understanding what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” and whether they fit into the gender roles that society has placed upon them. Many factors play into how an individual constructs their identity and how they are perceived externally, such as class, race, and ethnicity. Collins theorizes black femininity and black masculinity as it pertains to hegemonic standards and black gender roles. Collins also discusses how images of Black women in the media and in society reflect racist stereotypes about blackness. Collins (2004), stated that violence was central for maintaining hegemonic White masculinity, in which White men were placed at the top of the social hierarchy, and Black men were placed on the bottom (pg. 58). White men were able to beat and kill Black men, when they felt it necessary, as well as being forced to witness the violence that was placed upon their female partners and their children. Black women were subdued to physical and sexual violence, the White man used institutionalized violence in order to gain dominance and to control their female and male victims.

These acts were used to gain racial control, but they had a much larger effect on the Black man as they began to see violence as a sign and definition of masculinity (Collins, 2004, pg. 58). Black men were denied patriarchal power therefore they claimed others ways to appear masculine such as sexual prowess and brute strength (Collins, 2004, pg. 58). The way Black men and women were treated had a huge affect on the way they think, how they act, and on how society portrays them. According to Collins (2004), Black working class women are portrayed by society as hyper-sexual, aggressive, and domineering, while black middle-class women are portrayed as determined and driven, but still submissive to white male authority. Such images begin to justify racism and sexism. It also perpetuates inequality amongst genders, and encourages partner violence in relationships between black men and black women. Collins has shown through research the effects that media messages have on preadolescents, especially within video media and rap music that equate a women’s sexual desire with men’s expectations. According to Collins (2004), sexuality and violence are a representation of blackness that need to be redefined.

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Masculinity and Femininity - Collins Theory. (2021, Jun 30). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/masculinity-and-femininity-collins-theory/

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