Paying for Masculinity

Boys, Men and the Patriarchal Dividend

By Murray Knuttila  

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Men commit crimes. Men are violent. Men start wars. Men have power.

In Paying for Masculinity, Murray Knuttila argues that male dominance is best understood in the context of the particular mode of gender practice — hegemonic masculinity — that typifies patriarchal gender orders. This mode of masculinity permeates our society, media and culture. It persists because of “the patriarchal dividend” — men directly benefit from their dominance in society. But these benefits exact a price, first and foremost from women and girls. But, as boys and men are under pressure to “man up,” they too pay the costs: they die younger, go to prison, restrict their emotions and blunt their humanity. Simply put, men need to understand that the costs of practising this mode of masculinity far outweigh the benefits.

Knuttila’s conceptual framework allows him to trace the history of the patriarchal dividend through various aspects of patriarchal capitalism, demonstrating how ingrained it is in our society, and to illustrate ways of encouraging non-hegemonic forms of masculinity, which are ultimately to the benefit of everyone.

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  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  • Towards Conceptual Clarity: Sex and Gender and Much More
  • Acquiring Gender
  • Boys Will Be(come) Men
  • Capitalism and Work: Sex, Gender and Economy
  • Family Men?
  • Violent Men or Men and Violence?
  • Representing Boys and Men
  • Defending, Resisting and Costing the Patriarchal Dividend
  • References
  • Index


  • Murray Knuttila


    Murray Knuttila teaches in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina where he is also Dean of Arts. His biography, That Man Partridge: E.A. Partridge, His Thoughts and Times tells the story of an important figure in Canadian history. He is also the author of Introducing Sociology; A Critical Perspective and numerous articles on the state in capitalist society and on the historical role of the state in structuring Western Canadian society.

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