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Perceptions and Interpretation of Contemporary Masculinities in Western Culture: A Systematic Review

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posted on 2022-01-17, 01:43 authored by Sandra ConnorSandra Connor, Kristina Edvardsson, Christopher FisherChristopher Fisher, Evelien SpeltenEvelien Spelten
The social construct of masculinity evolves in response to changes in society and culture. Orthodox masculinity is mostly considered to be hegemonic and is evidenced by the dominance of men over women and other, less powerful men. Contemporary shifts in masculinity have seen an emergence of new masculinities that challenge traditional male stereotypes. This systematic review aims to review and synthesize the existing empirical research on contemporary masculinities and to conceptualize how they are understood and interpreted by men themselves. A literature search was undertaken on 10 databases using terms regularly used to identify various contemporary masculinities. Analysis of the 33 included studies identified four key elements that are evident in men’s descriptions of contemporary masculinity. These four elements, (a) Inclusivity, (b) Emotional Intimacy, (c) Physicality, and (d) Resistance, are consistent with the literature describing contemporary masculinities, including Hybrid Masculinities and Inclusive Masculinity Theory. The synthesized findings indicate that young, middle-class, heterosexual men in Western cultures, while still demonstrating some traditional masculinity norms, appear to be adopting some aspects of contemporary masculinities. The theories of hybrid and inclusive masculinity suggest these types of masculinities have several benefits for both men and society in general.


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American Journal of Men's Health











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© The Author(s) 2021 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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