Title

Protectors of Hegemonic Masculinity: An analysis of masculinity and gun legislation

Presenter Information

Claire Michelson

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In the year of 2016, 15,050 people died at the hands of firearms. In the same year there were 385 mass shootings. With so much gun violence and tragedy crossing the news screens, many citizens have become increasingly concerned over the issue of gun violence in the country. Others either deny the problem exists, or claim that their gun ownership is not a part of the problem. In wake of this, gun regulation has become an evermore-contentious debate. This research argues that there exists an underlying reason for our country’s inability to pass stricter gun regulations: the threat it poses to hegemonic masculinity.

Drawing from current research, political opinion polls, and political rhetoric, this paper will demonstrate that the fundamental obstacle to pass gun control legislation has to do with upholding the culture of American masculinity. I present current evidence that establishes guns as symbols of masculinity, as well as research affirming the ownership of guns as a method of upholding such masculinity. Through analyzing current pro-gun rhetoric, as well as poll results on gun ownership and popular opinion, I show that behind the arguments in opposition to gun control, there are connections to maintaining traditional masculinity and masculine stereotypes. Furthermore, I will examine the political process to show how these attitudes influence the laws and policies that are passed (or shot down). The research concludes by calling for further research as well as education and political discussion on this topic. No matter a person’s stance on gun legislation, it’s important to understand the root forces at play.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 28th, 10:40 AM Apr 28th, 11:00 AM

Protectors of Hegemonic Masculinity: An analysis of masculinity and gun legislation

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In the year of 2016, 15,050 people died at the hands of firearms. In the same year there were 385 mass shootings. With so much gun violence and tragedy crossing the news screens, many citizens have become increasingly concerned over the issue of gun violence in the country. Others either deny the problem exists, or claim that their gun ownership is not a part of the problem. In wake of this, gun regulation has become an evermore-contentious debate. This research argues that there exists an underlying reason for our country’s inability to pass stricter gun regulations: the threat it poses to hegemonic masculinity.

Drawing from current research, political opinion polls, and political rhetoric, this paper will demonstrate that the fundamental obstacle to pass gun control legislation has to do with upholding the culture of American masculinity. I present current evidence that establishes guns as symbols of masculinity, as well as research affirming the ownership of guns as a method of upholding such masculinity. Through analyzing current pro-gun rhetoric, as well as poll results on gun ownership and popular opinion, I show that behind the arguments in opposition to gun control, there are connections to maintaining traditional masculinity and masculine stereotypes. Furthermore, I will examine the political process to show how these attitudes influence the laws and policies that are passed (or shot down). The research concludes by calling for further research as well as education and political discussion on this topic. No matter a person’s stance on gun legislation, it’s important to understand the root forces at play.