FROM BOYS TO MEN: THE PLACE OF THE PROVIDER ROLE IN MALE DEVELOPMENT

Belinda Brown (b.brown@ucl.ac.uk)
Department of Transport, University College London, UK

Abstract


This paper outlines a theory explaining why the provider role is important to boys in the development of their masculine identity. The family is a primary site for identity formation, and boys appear to be more badly affected by growing up in non-intact families than girls. Female identity is more marked by biological transitions (e.g. pregnancy), and gives mothers a more central role within the family than fathers. Thus the male role within the family - the provider role - needs to be socially and culturally constructed. Where the father is absent and the role is devalued, transition from boyhood to manhood is made difficult, and masculinity may be problematized as 'hegemonic', 'toxic', and 'hyper'. Solutions from traditional cultures are discussed.


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