What does masculinity mean? Is it bulging muscles, six-packs and sweaty bodies bathed in testosterone? Or an intellectual executive in an Armani suit with a multi-million dollar conglomerate? For me, it is being the epitome of the macho, virile, aggressive and strong man. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, masculinity is "having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man."1 To comprehend that meaning, we must first acknowledge the universal meaning of the word man, in the biological as well as mental sense. After careful contemplation, I decided on analyzing the first image as it holds the most connotative and denotative meaning for me. In fact, that picture caught my attention for it symbolizes pure masculinity. How many women in this world can claim to be indifferent to royal, affluent, and sexually as well as intellectually virile men? .
The image drips with the symbolism of royalty. The crown-shaped background with Prince William at the top is denotative of the fact that he is heir to the British kingdom. The three stages of age: boyhood, adolescence and middle age are captured beautifully in the strategic placement of the three males. Hegemonic masculinity is a term that comes to mind while analyzing this image.2 These men display power and wealth, dominance and authority. The following excerpt from Gray is rather observant:.
"Rather, most men and women at a given time in a particular culture will support a hegemonic masculinity. Simply put, hegemony is a sociological term describing the processes which keep dominant groups in power by ensuring that subordinate groups support or at least accept "the way things are". Thus, hegemonic masculinity is the socially dominant form of masculinity in a particular culture within a given historical period."3.
Our culture shuns men who do not display virility and aggressiveness. Being effeminate is a curse. If the father and son trio were shown as being slightly feminine, society would spurn their authority and question their power.