Epstein, D. 1998. “Marked Men: Whiteness and Masculinity.”

Epstein, Debbie. 1998. “Marked Men: Whiteness and Masculinity.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 37, (The New Man?): 49-59.

New modes of masculinity – impacts institutions, pop culture outlets where men perform, make choices, and enact resistance – the “remaking of man” (49). Masculinity as non-fixed; multiple versions of masculinity impacted by social positions of men/their groups – race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, (dis)abilities, relationship to state/politics, individual men’s life histories, and “common sense” of what men should be like.  Men and masculinity as fluid, situational – power related in histories; relevance shifting through time and space.

Use of discourse analysis (dominant as common sense, subordinate as oppositional) to parse out masculinity within apartheid South Africa. However, dominant and subordinate does not equate to passivity or social inaction – masculinities shaped by institutional or individual experiences of violence

Ethnicity as contested term, varies with socio-economic and political change, varying salience for different groups at different times.  Non-monolithic, but “ethnic groups are formed and exist through economic, political, and cultural practices and material relations of power” (51).  Differences within ethnicities based on gender, religion, language, caste, class (Brah 1996).  Race as problematic term, with essentialist and assumed biological bases.  However, presumption of race as reality creates racialized systems that reifies race to create customs and practices that divide based upon presumed difference, offering power. Masculinities constructed through class and ethnicity.

Science of gender as socially-produced.  Masculinity as identity is less biological, less normative – “identity […] is something we have to work at, something which is never complete but always in process” (52, see also Hall 1996).

“Traditional notions of masculinity in late capitalist societies have often revolved around paid work/employment” (53). “[…] Masculinity is not isolated from other social differences, but is imbricated in a range of social inequalities” (52).  Ways that people learn to do gender are often strongly attached to doing race, doing sexuality, etc. Identities of all kinds are often simultaneously formed and performed, an act of creation for self and communication with others – highly impacted by social relations and institutions of power, contexts.


Brah, A. 1996. Cartographies of Diaspora, Contesting Identities. London: Routledge.

Hall, S. 1996. “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?”. In S. Hall and P. du Gay (eds) Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage.


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