From Military Masculinity toward Hybrid Masculinities: Constructing a New Sense of Manhood among Veterans Treated for PTSS

Gabriela Spector-Mersel*, Ohad Gilbar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines how Israeli men who are army veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress and consequently participated in therapy engage “new masculinities” ideologies. Drawing from interview data with these veterans, we find changes in the men’s perceptions of masculinity and sense of themselves as men. They expressed this shift through criticisms of military masculinity and disassociating from the idea of man-as-fighter, disputing the sociocultural category of hegemonic masculinity, and performing practices identified as feminine. The men portrayed this movement, away from endorsing hegemonic military masculinity toward affirming “new masculinity” ideology rooted in therapeutic discourse, which emphasizes sensitivity, emotional disclosure, self-care, and seeking help, as intertwined with their mental recovery—and they attributed both to therapy. These findings suggest that new masculinity ideology embedded in therapeutic discourse, can offer men suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) a template to reaffirm their status as men—although men of a different kind—and indicate the possibilities for therapy in this endeavor. However, while the men adopted new masculinity ideologies, they also conformed to hegemonic masculinity, constructing hybrid masculinities. The study joins growing evidence that hybrid masculinities may have positive effects in enabling men to overcome the limitations of hegemonic masculinity, while also conforming to its expectations more broadly and maintaining men’s power.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)862-883
Number of pages22
JournalMen and Masculinities
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • combat
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • hybrid masculinities
  • military masculinity
  • new masculinities
  • post-traumatic stress
  • therapeutic discourse
  • traditional masculinity
  • veterans

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