Men, Masculinities, and the Global Pandemic: Exploring the Politics of Masculinities and Interlocking Relations of Power During the Initial Stage of COVID-19

Christopher John Greig, Kimberly M. Hillier


This article reflects on and analyzes interlocking relations of power pertaining to the politics of masculinities during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Situated within the context of the current global pandemic, we apply masculinities theories, feminist theoretical insights, and cultural studies of men and masculinities to various social, political, and economic contexts. In this article we argue that the conditions created by the global pandemic in its initial stage fuelled the resurgence of hegemonic masculinity. Accordingly, we identify and explore how pandemic responses and outcomes have been impacted by masculinities while also examining white-hegemonic-masculine ideals during a time of crisis. Analyzing data from foundation reports, international organizations, and other materials connected to our analysis of white hegemonic masculinity, we discuss how, during the initial stage of the pandemic, vulnerable populations, particularly women and communities of colour, were impacted by a resurgence of hegemonic masculinity. We further discuss how during this time the increase in men’s violence, women’s disproportionate caregiving, and men’s desire to appear strong and “manly” certainly implicated the ways in which hegemonic masculinity impacted the lives of women and children during a time of crisis. Thereby, light is shed on the multiplicity of complex and fluid ways in which the politics of masculinities shaped a global pandemic. Our findings have implications for social work practitioners and educators interested in gender justice.



gender, masculinities, social work, COVID-19

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