Mariposa Men’s

         Wellness Institute



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In this new section of the MMWI website, we are going to begin to look at the ways in which males (and females, though that is not the primary focus of this website) are socialized into various kinds of gender roles. (Books related to this issue can be found in the Bibliography under Gender Roles & Studies, Male Socialization, Female Socialization, Gay Males, Transgender/Transsexual.)

Given that our Executive Director is both a men’s wellness advocate and a Unitarian Universalist, who lives by his theology, our definitions of ‘gender’ will be both fluid and will focus on assertive questioning of the dominant cultural ideal of gender polarity. In other words, the ‘traditional view of manhood’ will not only be actively questioned, but the emphasis will not be upon supporting traditional perspectives on maleness.

As such, the emphasis will be two-fold:

  1. 1.The ways in which the larger culture proscribes certain gender roles and creates gender expectations attendant to those roles.

  2. 2.The ways in which individuals self-define themselves, which is sometimes in agreement with the cultural proscription, but is often in opposition to or at variance to the societal ‘demands’ and ‘expectations’ as to how people will ‘present’ themselves.

As such, we will looks at various cultural definitions of gender, and explore a variety of alternate methodologies employed by males express their gender: heterosexual, gay, transgender [and the wide range of potential varieties currently manifest in our society] and transsexual. While some readers may wonder why we’ve included transsexual [specifically, of transsexual women who were born as males], since the taking of that path is largely a rejection of maleness altogether, we would posit that it is a rational choice that some males make about their self-identification and personal sense of self. While it is ‘at odds’ with their birth gender, it is, as such, worth exploring for the ways in which it displays, in contrast, some of the inherent problems with the traditional models of the ‘manhood construct’.


Gender Socialization