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“(Re) Fashioning Masculinity” by Ben Barry Essay

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2022

Inappropriate Articles for Analysis

I reviewed several articles on dress and identity, but they did not satisfy me for various reasons. The study “Open Dialogue: Artists and Designers of Afro-Caribbean Descent” by Walters (2019) interested me at first by its name. However, the abstract made it clear that although the topic of this work is unique, it is too specific. The structure of the work is also inappropriate, since it is the authors’ reflection but not scientific research. I was also interested in the work “An Exploration of Dress and Identity Among New Mothers: The Implications of Breastfeeding for Clothing Choice” by Brown and Hodges (2018). However, although its abstract is interesting because the authors research socially important topics, the study is short as well as list of cited sources, and the methods of research are not described.

I also found an article that meets all criteria but has an unclear topic for me. The study ”’Because They Are Me’: Dress and the Making of Gender” by Shefer, Ratele, and Clowes (2017) also attracted me by socially important gender issues. However, the authors consider the topic in a wide range and the context of the culture of South Africa, so I preferred the more familiar Canadian culture and the more specific issue of gender. Thus, two scientific papers, which at first glance seemed interesting to me, turned out to be insufficiently structured and detailed for analysis. Another study met all the criteria, but its topic seemed less clear to me than the problems in the article that I eventually selected.

Introduction

In most cases, clothing identifies social status, gender, and even the character of a person as people choose outfits that correspond to their internal state. However, at the same time, there are many stereotypes associated with dressing, especially the gender of a person and his or her expression of masculinity and femininity. Ben Barry’s article “(Re) Fashioning Masculinity: Social Identity and Context in Men’s Hybrid Masculinities through Dress,” published in 2018 in Gender & Society Journal, explains these stereotypes.

Barry (2018) explores men’s ways to do masculinity and femininity through dressing, depending on their social and professional status. I chose this article because modern standards impose more rules on men in clothes than women, for example, a skirt or a shiny T-shirt is considered a manifestation of femininity. For this reason, I am interested in exploring the manifestations of masculinity through men through clothes, and understand how cultural norms influence their behavior. Consequently, the article written by Ben Barry will be analyzed and evaluated in this paper.

Preliminaries and Fields of the Research

This article is an example of scientific work on the topic of identity and clothing. The title of the work makes clear features of its content, and the abstract reflects the main hypotheses, the relevance of the topic, and the overall results of the study. The list of sources that were used to create and conduct the study belong to various scientific fields, which demonstrates its richness and versatile approach to exploring the issue. The reference list displays scientific sources about sociology, psychology, gender sciences, and even history. Consequently, the preliminaries of the article reflect the high quality and validity of the study.

Moreover, the work clearly shows that the research was conducted in different scientific fields, and its results are also applicable to different areas. The author emphasizes that his research and findings related to gender sciences and sociology, since the topic of hybrid masculinity has been studied by scholars in these areas (Barry, 2018). Also, some explanations of the phrases of men and their understanding of their own behavior demonstrate the indirect involvement of psychology, and comments on the evolution of male fashion show the historical elements of the study (Barry, 2018). Thus, it should be noted that the author critically and qualitatively investigated the topic of masculinity and its expression through dress.

Summary of the Article

This study seeks to examine the relationship between ways of masculinity demonstrating through dressing in men and the context in which they are found in everyday life. Barry (2018) clearly substantiates the need for this research by presenting a literature review on the expression of masculinity, dressing methods, and the various contexts in which they intersect. However, although articles on feminine representations of men through dress in the context of certain events, for example, the Burning Man festival, or the LGBTQ+ rights parade, are presented in the scientific literature, there are no studies of the same behavior in everyday life (Barry, 2018).

There are also works devoted to the manifestations of hybrid masculinity through various external manifestations in men’s regular activities, but not through clothes. Thus, the author gives enough arguments for the benefit of this study.

The article has an extensive theoretical part, which explains the features of the men’s manifestation of masculinity and femininity and the factors on which they depend. In this part, Barry (2018) defines the main points that are the basis of his research and leads to its main part. Part of the discussion includes three ways men do hybrid masculinities through dress, such as disavowing, reining-in, and celebrating feminine dress (Barry, 2018). Each of the concepts is presented with examples of participants’ interviews that most clearly reflect the features of the group.

The main findings of the study divided due to each of the created concepts. Men disavowing feminine clothes have a high socioeconomic status and hold leadership positions and professions (Barry, 2018). Consequently, the manifestation of femininity threatens the loss of their authority among colleagues and subordinates and other gender advantages. Men with middle income and are more creative but located in settings that valorized hegemonic masculine ideals professions combine some feminine elements of dressing with a masculine style (Barry, 2018). However, they remove these elements if they threaten their power and work status.

At the same time, men celebrating feminine dress in most cases are representatives of the queer community and have the least social power; however, in some cases, they use masculine clothing to avoid discrimination (Barry, 2018). Thus, the author fulfilled the purpose of the study by consistently determining the dependence of the dressing method as a manifestation of masculinity and the social and professional status of men.

The Relevance of Findings and Contribution of the Author

A review of the literature and current trends in the perception of gender images by society shows that the author’s findings are useful and relevant. The topic of gender identity and social attitude is significant because, despite the struggle for equality in democratic countries, stereotypes and discrimination still play a big role. For some people, such conditions cause discomfort as they are forced to hide their tastes due to the bias of others. The issue of clothing as an expression of masculinity and femininity is also particularly acute, since people of all genders, orientations, and ethnic groups are faced with it. Consequently, the findings on ways to make masculinity in men allow us to understand the impact and causes of deep-seated stereotypes and use them to help society.

In addition, the contribution of these findings is the expansion of gender and social studies of hybrid masculinity. This topic is gaining its relevance due to changing trends in interpersonal relationships and ways of expressing identity. However, there is practically no research on such an essential aspect as casual clothes, so the results of Barry’s research make a significant contribution to the understanding of this topic. Thus, the findings of the study are relevant and meaningful, since they reveal a new aspect of the perception of gender by society.

Theories and Definitions

The study is based on several theories of the manifestation of masculinity by men, as well as methods of dressing. The works of Bridges and Pascoe (2014) and Bridges (2009) are most often used by the author, since they are aimed at studying hybrid masculinity. The author also refers to several theories of fashion to emphasize its changes and to note the typical feminine and muscular images in modern culture.

Moreover, the work has several interrelated terms to describe the characteristics of men’s clothing, depending on their goals and the context in which they are located. These terms are “unmarking,” “marking,” “and re-marking” (Barry, 2018). They mean a way of dressing in which men show typical masculinity, mark marginalized gender performances with feminine elements, or change common feminine or muscular images to the opposite (Barry, 2018). These definitions are ideal for describing features of the topic and particular parts of the study.

Methods of Research and Application

The methods for collecting and analyzing information are clearly and consistently described in the article. The author uses a qualitative research method and an interviewing to collect data on the daily wardrobe of men, their perception of their own style, and its impact on their lives (Barry, 2018). Barry (2018) also explains the way of sampling selection by the diversity of race, work, age, and orientation of participants. Information analysis includes several methods, such as the constant comparison strategy, the codes of sensitizing concepts, and Rice’s and grounded theory methods (Barry, 2018). The author logically explained the necessity and appropriateness of their use, which is consistent with the topic of his research.

This study has mainly theoretical application as it explores the basics of gender representation by society. The author contributes to the study of hybrid muscularity, as well as the relationship between body, dress, and identity. In addition, this work can be used in psychology to counsel men who feel the pressure of their social and professional status on their identity due to the typical gender perceptions of society. However, these data must be rethought and designed for use in this area. Therefore, the main application of the work is theoretical; however, it makes a significant contribution to the study of an individual’s sexuality.

Appropriateness of Citation

The article uses a wide variation of the literature cited and quoted by the author. For example, “Bridges and Pascoe (2014) suggested that one consequence of hybrid masculinities is that it fortifies inequalities in new ways” (Barry, 2018, p.15). In this case, the author uses a quote from the article “Hybrid masculinities: New directions in the sociology of men and masculinities” to emphasize his statement about new types of inequality caused by manifestations of hybrid masculinity (Barry, 2018).

The author tells about a white doctor with high earnings who follows a style that emphasizes masculine culture (Barry, 2018). However, the doctor can use the elements of feminine clothes that will not affect his masculine image as he has a higher and protected social status. Although Bridges and Pascoe (2014) emphasize other aspects by talking about inequality, such as same-sex intercourses of heterosexual men, or attitudes toward parenthood, the idea noted by Barry is also present in work. In addition, factors of race and social status are discussed in the same context, which confirms the relevance of citation.

Furthermore, this quote is appropriate as it emphasizes the author’s statement. Barry (2018) explains the features of Kartick’s hybrid masculinity and the reasons for its feminine performances by using the cited idea. Bridges and Pascoe (2014) argue for inequality and less concern for white, wealthy straight men about their masculinity, which allows them to exhibit hybrid masculinity. Since Kartick is an example of such a man, an idea was used to confirm the statement. Thus, the citation used by the author is useful and appropriate in this case.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This article is an excellent example of a scholarly paper, since it has a strong theoretical base, a sound organizational structure, and a suitable research method. The minor weakness is the lack of clearly formulated objects and research hypotheses. However, since the author used a qualitative method of analysis, these elements are not mandatory, and the main goal of the work is achieved. Another drawback is a small sample of respondents as the risk of error increases.

However, a qualitative research method complicates the data collection process, so a small group of participants was optimal for the author. In addition, since interviews were conducted with each participant individually, and there was a possibility of clarification, the error that usually exists in quantitative studies was eliminated. Consequently, the sample size most likely did not significantly affect the results.

At the same time, the strengths are the clear structure of the work, the availability of detailed explanations of the main aspects, and citations of other authors. These features helped the author to gradually reveal the topic and importance of the study, as well as form conclusions. In addition, many specific examples from the interview and their interpretation contributed to the revealing of the behavior of men in all three groups. Thus, it should be noted that the article is an example of qualitative scientific research.

Conclusion

Therefore, the author of the article “(Re) Fashioning Masculinity” complies with all the criteria of a scholarly article and shows an example of proper and detailed research. The literature and ideas correspond to the topic of the work and are cited appropriately, the information is clearly structured, and all statements are justified. Findings of work have great importance in various fields of science and complement the existing literature on identity and clothing, as well as human sexuality.

In addition, the author chose a convenient and most accurate method of collecting and analyzing information for this topic, which guarantees the accuracy of the results. All statements and suggestions in the article were also supported by evidence from other scientific sources, which proves their relevance and reliability. Thus, the study is a relevant, convincing, and justified example of research that is useful to science and society, and there are only a few details that can improve it.

References

Barry, B. (2018). (Re) Fashioning masculinity: Social identity and context in men’s hybrid masculinities through dress. Gender & Society, 32(5), 638–662. Web.

Bridges, T., & Pascoe, C. J. (2014). Hybrid masculinities: New directions in the sociology of men and masculinities. Sociology Compass, 8(3), 246–258. Web.

Brown, V., & Hodges, N. (2019). An exploration of dress and identity among new mothers: The implications of breastfeeding for clothing choice. Fashion, Style & Popular Culture, 6(2), 225–241. Web.

Shefer, T., Ratele, K., & Clowes, L. (2017). “‘Because they are me”: Dress and the making of gender. South African Review of Sociology, 48(4), 63–81. Web.

Walters, K. (2019). Open dialogue: Artists and designers of Afro-Caribbean descent. Design and Culture, 12(1), 83–101. Web.

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