From Military Masculinity toward Hybrid Masculinities: Constructing a New Sense of Manhood among Veterans Treated for PTSS

Gabriela Spector-Mersel, Ohad Gilbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines how Israeli men who are army veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress and consequently participated in therapy engage “new masculinities” ideologies. Drawing from interview data with these veterans, we find changes in the men’s perceptions of masculinity and sense of themselves as men. They expressed this shift through criticisms of military masculinity and disassociating from the idea of man-as-fighter, disputing the sociocultural category of hegemonic masculinity, and performing practices identified as feminine. The men portrayed this movement, away from endorsing hegemonic military masculinity toward affirming “new masculinity” ideology rooted in therapeutic discourse, which emphasizes sensitivity, emotional disclosure, self-care, and seeking help, as intertwined with their mental recovery—and they attributed both to therapy. These findings suggest that new masculinity ideology embedded in therapeutic discourse, can offer men suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) a template to reaffirm their status as men—although men of a different kind—and indicate the possibilities for therapy in this endeavor. However, while the men adopted new masculinity ideologies, they also conformed to hegemonic masculinity, constructing hybrid masculinities. The study joins growing evidence that hybrid masculinities may have positive effects in enabling men to overcome the limitations of hegemonic masculinity, while also conforming to its expectations more broadly and maintaining men’s power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-883
Number of pages22
JournalMen and Masculinities
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the journal Society and Welfare: Quarterly for Social Work for granting permission to use parts of the following article originally published in Hebrew: Gilbar, Ohad, Gabriela Spector-Mersel, Ofir Levi, and Rachel Dekel. 2018. From Crisis to Transformation: Masculine Identity among Veterans with PTSS due to Participation in Combat, Society and Welfare, 38, no. 2: 401?427. (Hebrew). We also thank Rachel Dekel, for her significant contribution throughout the study and her valuable comments on earlier versions of this article. The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • combat
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • hybrid masculinities
  • military masculinity
  • new masculinities
  • post-traumatic stress
  • therapeutic discourse
  • traditional masculinity
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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