What are the new masculinities and why are they important?

What are the new masculinities and why are they important?

Masculinity is known as the set of characteristics, values, attitudes and behaviors of men in a given society.  For centuries an idea of a “universal man” was constructed, based on a hegemonic masculinity in which the man must always be seen as strong, protective and provider.  Today, that concept does not fit much into reality and new masculinities have emerged that are committed to more egalitarian relationships and societies. 

Currently, there are many “ways of being a man” according to factors such as: race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, among others. These “new masculinities” contribute to our societies because they allow: 

  • Unlearning gender roles that have been established for centuries. 
  • Contribute to generate more egalitarian relationships.
  • Breaking with the model of the violent man who can do anything.
  • Eliminate the manifestations of machismo that occur in everyday life. 

Below you can learn more about the types of masculinities and which ones impact positively or negatively on our society.

Types of masculinity

During the last two decades, there have been important changes in the concept of masculinity that were not conceived possible before. Learn about the most popular types of masculinity below: 

Hegemonic masculinity: are characterized by being autonomous, productive, heterosexual, providers and completely in control of their emotions. It is often associated with toxic masculinity.

Subordinate masculinity: men who are characterized by lacking the traits of dominant masculinity. They are usually a minority and do not identify with the hegemonic male prototype. 

Toxic masculinity: is a term used to refer to the negative aspects of exaggerated masculine traits.  This model is based on: strength, lack of emotions, self-sufficiency, dominance and sexual virility. 

Alternate masculinities: refer to those men who are willing to analyze and choose other characteristics and attitudes.  

Positive masculinity: refers to men who use their physical and emotional strength to drive healthy behaviors and contribute to the development of more egalitarian and stronger communities.   

The model of masculinity perpetuated for centuries has been characterized by limiting personal growth and, in its wake, has not only negatively affected girls and women, but also men themselves have been victims of it. Hence the importance of knowing and understanding the new masculinity, promoting egalitarian spaces to build healthier and respectful societies.

Characteristics of traditional masculinity

Traditional masculinity seems to tell us that there is only one way to “be a man” and that way is based on concepts that are not currently valid and that hinder the construction of egalitarian and healthy societies. Identify their characteristics here: 

  • It focuses on inequality and the control of power of some people over others.
  • It leads to permanent demonstration of skills. 
  • It is based on recurrent behaviors that lead to aggression and violence. 
  • It is always shown in opposition to the feminine. 
  • It puts the development of instrumental and competitive skills before personal and inner development. 

Moving towards more egalitarian societies is not something that can be achieved in the short term, however, if each person contributes with simple actions it is likely that these changes in our cultures will begin to show. 

10 tips for working on new masculinities

Beyond seeking to concentrate power over people and situations, the new masculinities seek to provide greater freedom to individuals to face their development process and to generate healthier relationship spaces, whether at work or in their personal lives. If you want to know how to move forward on this path, do not lose sight of the following recommendations:

– Set aside the traditional and obsolete model of masculinity.

– Understand the existence of diverse masculinities.

– Dismiss concepts focused on power and violence as the only mechanisms.

– Encourage empathy. Feel, listen and connect with others.

– Get involved in nurturing and caring spaces to build more balanced relationships.

– Avoid trying to control or define everything.

– Avoid assuming distant positions in front of others. Showing feelings is healthy for all human beings regardless of gender.

– Respect the expression of all types of emotions in men.

– Reject sexist and homophobic education.

– Seek the development of masculinities free of stereotypes and violence from an early age.

As you can see, it is not so complicated to contribute to the construction of more harmonious, egalitarian and respectful of differences relationships. Everyone can make a small contribution that will result in the welfare of society.

In the Yo Digo No Más Movement we are respectful of these new masculinities and we celebrate those men who dare to change history by breaking with stereotypes. You can be part of the change, join this movement on behalf of yourself or hundreds of victims who have not been able to find their voice to speak out against this scourge.

Find the multiple options we have to get involved with the movement and make your voice heard.