The social construction of masculinity and intimate partner violence: Understanding men’s perspectives

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University of New Brunswick


This thesis investigates the impact of social constructions of masculinity on men's use of intimate partner violence (IPV), addressing two questions: (1) How do social constructions of masculinity and gender influence men’s use of IPV? and (2) Based on their exposure to patterns of gender interaction, how do men learn and internalize processes that inhibit or encourage using IPV? Using Connell's (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005), theory of hegemonic masculinity, this study analyzes the Canadian White Ribbon Campaign's "Boys Don't Cry" video through content analysis and employs it as a visual method for qualitative interviews with 16 men aged 19 to 25. Findings reveal some men make conscious choices not to use violence despite social pressures and learn through sensitizing experiences and gendered interactions with men and women that using violence leads to negative consequences. This study allowed for participants to gain more awareness about their conceptualizations of masculinity and IPV.