Take it Like a Man: A Study of Men's Emotion Culture
Shelley, Maria Tempenis
This study explores how emotion culture relates to class position and beliefs about masculinity. What are the cultural ideologies, values, norms, and vocabularies about emotion that structure men’s lives? And, do these dimensions of emotion culture vary by socioeconomic status? In-depth interviews were conducted with a split sample of eighty white, heterosexual men (forty upper-middle class, forty working class) to obtain their perspectives on masculinity and emotion. I outline and discuss dominant and secondary ideologies about stoicism and five emotions (sadness, anger, fear, love, and happiness) as they emerged from the interviews. Additionally, the compensatory masculinity model proposes that men will exaggerate certain traits of masculinity in the absence of other traits. While my research finds some support for this model regarding expressions of anger, it also challenges the theory vis-à-vis stoicism. Alternative explanations for class similarities and differences are also introduced.