The Psychology of Men's Health

By Christina Lee; R. Glynn Owens | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Men and work

In western capitalist societies, men are defined by 'what they do' - their paid occupation in the public sphere - rather than by who they are. A central tenet of hegemonic masculinity is the assumption that a 'real' man will have a full-time, permanent job - probably involving making something - which supports his family financially (Price et al. 1998). He will see his career as the most important aspect of his life, and will always be prepared to sacrifice family activities for work and for career advancement. As Coltrane (1989: 488) expressed it, the 'essential nature of men is taken to be that of provider' both by men themselves and by society more generally. Men who are unemployed or underemployed, who live in rolereversed or in same-sex relationships, or who otherwise do not conform to the stereotype of the man providing for wife and children, are stigmatized (for example Grbich 1992). This social stereotype has failed to keep up with the changed realities of work and family life, and many men are likely to experience stress and stress-related illness as a result of having to deal with conflict between social expectations and the reality of their personal and family lives.

Radical feminists have argued that capitalism and patriarchy are inimical to the best interests of women: that the dominant cultural discourses of patriarchal societies position men and women as essentially different, and that social institutions - including law, government, employment and childcare systems - militate against women's freedom to make optimal life choices (Riger 1992). These arguments can be extended to the position of men. Those men whose choices or life circumstances mean that they do not participate in the benefits of patriarchy are stigmatized, while those who do conform to social expectations are also unable to make genuinely unconstrained choices about their lives. This chapter explores issues surrounding work, both formal paid work and unpaid domestic labour, for men. It demonstrates that men's lives and choices are influenced by social


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Psychology of Men's Health


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 150

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?