Masculinity Redefined

 A new study conducted by researchers at an Indian University shows that physical appearance is less important than social-cultural networking in defining masculinity.

The definition of masculinity might have remained mostly unchanged in the dictionary over the last decade, but in the real world of ever-changing social values, the things that might make a man more masculine in the eyes of potential girlfriends has been constantly evolving. In the past, the definition of a masculine man came along with decidedly male looks and activities as exemplified by a guy with a trim and muscular build who had a macho attitude and pursued a host of male-oriented activities and interests. The truly masculine man of yesteryear looked the part and played it too. While the average male may have been content to view photos of scenic mountain ranges in magazines and watch death-defying automobile races on TV, the masculine man wanted to climb the mountains and drive the race cars himself. The masculine active lifestyle meant that he also had to be in decent shape too, as few mountaineers and race car drivers wore a spare tire around their midsections.

Now, a new survey conducted at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India has taken a new look at what defines masculinity today and found that the current definition of masculinity has changed in India and in the rest of the world too. The Gandhinagar survey found that handsome men with a steady supply of beautiful girlfriends are no longer necessarily masculine. Interestingly enough, among 77% of the university-age respondents it was found that a lot of participation in extra curricular activities at school has now become a major factor in masculinity, and another 74% of those surveyed felt that guys with extensive networks of dynamic friends were definitely more masculine than those without.

Great handsome looks were still found to be important for determining masculinity, as 51% of respondents said good looks imparted masculinity, but a full 44% said they felt a handsome appearance was second in importance to a high overall academic performance. When it came to sports participation, only 44% of the respondents thought men who were active in sports were more masculine.

Surprisingly, the new survey also found that personal wealth, great looking girlfriends and a good job were some of the least important criteria in determining masculinity as only 34% of the respondents said wealth imparts masculinity, and just 22% said girlfriends and good jobs translated to masculinity. Overall, the new study reflects that the perception of masculinity has changed among youths all over the world today and that a masculine physical appearance is now far less important than extra-curricular activity and social-cultural networking now are.