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‘Masculine insufficiency’ varies in men

People stand in front of a lit-up section of Azadi (Freedom) Square during a ceremony in western Tehran March 31, 2008. The ceremony was held to mark the vote in a national referendum in 1979 which saw Iran became known as an Islamic Republic. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (REUTERS)
People stand in front of a lit-up section of Azadi (Freedom) Square during a ceremony in western Tehran March 31, 2008. The ceremony was held to mark the vote in a national referendum in 1979 which saw Iran became known as an Islamic Republic. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (REUTERS)

Washington: A recent PhD thesis has negated the previous research, which claimed that poor marginalized men tend to gravitate towards compensatory and violent masculinities to deal with their sense of masculine insufficiency.

The study of Chimaraoke Izugbara, author of the thesis, draws on ethnographic data and fieldwork in two slums in Kenyan capital Nairobi. Izugbara found bread-winner hood is a central feature of masculinity in the slums of Nairobi as in many parts of the world.

Men in the slums of Nairobi are thus clearly operating within the framework of larger patriarchal definition of a ‘man’.

Another issue from the study relates to masculinity and community development. The men, Izugbara studied, emphasized their own criticality and centrality in the progress of their community.

Within this context, prejudiced social conceptions and prejudices, such as homophobia, become important expressions of masculinity among men seeking to show that they need to assert themselves in more masculine ways to play their roles as community leaders and protectors.

This becomes an obstacle for efforts to develop the poor communities. But work to change their behaviour must seek to comprehend and build on the ways men themselves articulate and understand the issues that they face in their everyday life, Izugbara concludes.

This PhD thesis is from the University of Gothenburg. (ANI)

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