Black Masculinity: An Examination of the Strategies used by Black Men to Deal with Pressure to Conform to Masculinity Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Mathews, Allison
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Few sociologists have examined whether the support systems that stigmatized people use to deal with intolerance also serve as sources of strain. I address this by studying how black heterosexual and gay men handle pressures to conform to traditional masculine behaviors and how sources of support simultaneously serve as sources of strain. The sample consisted of 29 black men (8 gay, 3 bisexual, 19 heterosexual) at three major universities in the south, ages 18 to 23. I used a snowball sample of black gay and heterosexual students involved in student-led campus organizations and their friends. Through participant observation at the student organizations and open-ended interviews, I examined their strategies for dealing with pressure to conform to masculine norms and/or combat the stigma of homosexuality. This exploratory study examines the relationships between stigmatized identities, perceived social attitudes toward masculinity, and strategies to deal with pressures to conform to masculinity. The data showed a pattern of black men creating boundaries between themselves and stigmatized others in lower statuses to combat heterosexist and racist discrimination. However, the men's boundary making and defensive othering served to reproduce the inequality they opposed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Hagan, Jacqueline
  • Open access

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