Per Connell and Messerschmidt, hegemonic masculinity “was understood as the pattern of practice (i.e., things done, not just set of role expectations or an identity) that allowed men’s dominance over women to continue” (Connell & Messerschmidt, p. 832). It also entails the justification of the subordination of other estrange ways of being a man. This concept tries to offer an explanation why and how men can continue to have dominant “social roles” over women and other men who do not necessarily fit into the “masculinity” group (i.e. gay men, men of color). “It embodied the currently most honored way of being a man, it required all other men to position themselves in relation to it …” (Connell & Messerschmidt, p. 832). One can also argue that to some extent, it is shaped by the condemnation of homosexuality. It entails a stereotypical idea of masculinity which influences young boy’s aspirations and ways of socializing. Under this umbrella, men are supposed to be tough, risk-takers, be competitive, highly ambitious and devoted to work rather than domesticated work.
Also, Connell & Messerschmidt noted that hegemonic masculinity is not the most common or normal form of masculinity, as “only a minority of men might enact it” (Connell & Messerschmidt p. 832). It was noted that masculinity is not a fixed thing that is imbedded in one’s body or behavior, rather, its covers forms of practices accomplished in everyday social action thus it differs according to gender, class, and race hence multiple forms of masculinity. For example, marginalized groups like African-American males sometimes uses crime and violent forms of hegemonic masculinity to cope and respond to their own lack of control and subordination.). Gender hierarchy attempts to explain men’s dominant position to women and how they both gender influences one another. Per the authors study, the new emphasis on gender hierarchy shows women as “central in many of the processes constructing masculinities-as mothers; as schoolmates; … wives; as workers in the gender division of labor …” (Connell & Messerschmidt p.848). These hierarchies are affected by new forms of structure of women’s practice and identity thus, more attention is being given to the ‘historical interplay of femininities and masculinities” (p.848).