Masculinity In Australia

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Introduction
Australia is a young country and sees itself as a modern progressive society; however, contemporary Australian society is still bound to the 1950s ‘breadwinner model’. This model describes a family’s dependence upon the father as the income earner while the mother remains at home to meet her family’s needs. Growing evidence shows the scales are tipping and women’s increased participation in the workforce and higher education system since the 1960s has reduced the impact of the breadwinner model. Nevertheless, much of the same evidence indicates Australian society still clings to the traditional norms regarding gender roles and work. Domestic work remains divided along gender lines, and women are subject to gender-based double standards.
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The media presents a feminisation of masculinity, determined by the ‘soft labour’ men engage in to provide for their families, now seen as ‘the most valuable form of masculinity in our globalised world’ (Judd 2012), referring to the office and technical work common for men since the decline of manufacturing (ABS 2012). A study of gender practices of primary school boys found nurturing behaviour was encouraged by families and was seen as a form of masculinity by the boys involved (Bartholomaeus 2013:289). Similarly, many parents considered behaviour that fell outside the expectations of hegemonic masculinity to be masculine on the basis of practicality e.g. cooking (Bartholomaeus 2013:287). Bartholomaeus also found that an emphasis on education is seen as an ‘alternate discourse with hegemonic masculinity’ (2013:286) and no less valued by family and peers. These factors indicate change towards an expectation that men, in order to live up to new ideals of masculinity, must take a more active role in caring for the family, deviating from the traditional ‘macho’ masculine …show more content…
Because many workplaces and traditional work practices are male-centric and dominated, women sometimes adopt masculine qualities to be seen as equal, but are often criticised for doing so and for not showing a suitable level of femininity. Hall and Donaghue characterise men as ‘agentic and self-focused’ and women as communal, sensitive and nurturing (2013:633). In deconstructing the media discourse surrounding Julia Gillard’s appointment as Prime Minister in 2010, Hall and Donaghue describe an ‘incongruence between cultural stereotypes for women’ and the display of stereotypically male qualities (2013:633) and how women are viewed negatively for it. However, not displaying these qualities is attributed to women not progressing into senior positions (Fox 2012:40) and fall behind in negotiating pay increases (Fox 2012:167-8), or more generally, fully participating in the workplace (Hall and Donaghue 2013:632). Women facer greater demand to balance displays of both masculine and feminine behavioural characteristics to be seen as men’s equals at work, but without compromising defining features of their femininity, namely their communality and nurturance (Hall and Donaghue

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