In disadvantaged areas around the world young men find expressions of their masculinity through violence discuss

Additional factors such as social class, poverty, culture and race are also involved, and this makes it difficult to isolate the element of gender and analyse its role in society. This paper introduces recent theories about gender in society and suggests an appropriate way of approaching the subject. It then considers how far and why young men in disadvantaged areas might choose to use violence as a means of expressing their masculinity. Finding an appropriate vocabulary is an important first step in understanding how gender affects behaviour: Talking about gender for most people is the equivalent of fish talking about water. (Lorber, 1994, 21) A great deal of human experience of gender is taken for granted because it occurs on an unconscious level. It is not something that individuals work out themselves, but rather it is the result of repeated interactions with other people who convey the prevailing values and boundaries of society. Lorber stresses the social nature of gender: To explain why gendering is done from birth, constantly and by everyone, we have to look not only at the way individuals experience gender but at gender as a social institution. (Lorber, 1994, 21). … From birth babies are assigned to male or female gender, and this results in a whole set of traditional responses which reinforce that gender. Because there is pressure from the family, and from society at large, boys and girls internalize a lot of these notions of gender and grow up doing gender themselves, in ways that are defined by others. This is what it means when we say that gender is socially constructed. The dominance of patriarchy in most human societies ensures that there is a widespread tendency to accord more status and prestige to men, in relation to women. Organized violence tends to be the work of men, and this is a pattern that has been evident throughout history as successive male governments launch into wars with each other. Culture does have some influence in the way that this occurs, however, and Connell points out that Commercial capitalism calls on a calculative masculinity and the class struggles of industrialization call on a combative one. Their combination, competitiveness, is institutionalized in ‘business’ and becomes a central theme in the new form of hegemonic masculinity (Connell, 1987, p. 156). Western industrialized capitalism, therefore, produces a particularly restrictive form of masculinity which has assertion of power and resistance to this power built into its fabric. Dominant males oppress females and also weaker males. This is the force that lies behind unfairness in comparative wage levels, inequality in access to jobs, promotions and all kinds of opportunities. In communities which are generally disadvantaged both men and women are subjected to prejudice from the more affluent parts of society and this brings their status closer together, at the bottom of social hierarchies. When