Table of Contents
In the Middle East, the focus has always been on feminism and not masculinity; especially the way women dress and behave (Gokariksel & Secor, 2007). In particular, there has been no focus on masculinity; that is, the way it is conceptualized in countries such as Turkey and Iran and how important it is in politics and culture through every day practices. For example, Gokariksel and Secor (2007) state that the way men dress in relation to religion as a way of culture has been receiving less attention. Therefore, in looking at the diverse versions of masculinity in Turkey and Iran different ways on the way it is viewed are shown. With the various definitions of masculinity, it is vital to discuss how expressions of masculinity are contingent upon geographic space, sociocultural and political influences, and Islam religion.
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It is crucial to understand the concept of masculinity in the Middle East by defining and explaining it. According to Fisher and Shay (2009), there are various definitions of masculinity because there are many ways to show differences in behavior that revolve around diverse experiences, points of view, and cultures. It can be defined biologically in terms of gender as male or female and according to the roles that are taken by the two genders.
Expressions of Masculinity
Masculinity is expressed geographically in terms of the experience such as the rite of passage to adulthood through which a man can prove that he is masculine. For example, Monsutti (2007) points to the reason young male Hazaras migrate to Iran. He states that they do this as a crucial stage in their life cycle, which is to achieve a given idea of their own autonomy. In Iran, they assume male roles, such as working in the farm, while the women cook and take care of the farmyard animals. The male roles define the masculinity of men.
Sociocultural and political influences
Masculinity is also expressed in terms of political and cultural importance, especially the way masculinities are enacted through every day practices. Gokariksel and Secor (2007) state that culturally and politically, men in Istanbul, especially in Konya, are generally socially conservative. They live in a city where women are fully covered in carsaf and are required by religious laws to take up female roles. Thus, the masculinity of men is defined by the practice of carrying out the gender roles for male and female, such as men going to the mosque.
The Islamic religion in Turkey shows how masculinity is expressed. In particular, Gokariksel and Secor (2007) observe that it is based on the Islamic knowledge; that is, how the Hadith and the Koran might be read and interpreted. In a study they carried in Turkey to find the role of religion in the public life of people, they focused on four groups consisting of 10 men aged between 18 and 35 years. The results showed that most men demonstrated high levels of Islamic practices, including mosque attendance and practicing namaz, which define masculinity.
It is obvious that feminism in the Middle East has been the focus especially the way women dress and behave, such as wearing carsaf and taking care of farmyard animals. On the other hand, the masculinity of men has received less attention. However, masculinity can be defined based on geography, sociocultural and political influences, and Islamic religion. For example, it can be defined according to where people migrate. For instance, young male Hazaras who migrate to Iran do so to achieve their own autonomy as men.
- Fisher, J., & Shay, A. (2009).When men dance: Choreographing masculinities across borders. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Gokariksel, B., & Secor, A. (2007).Devout Muslim masculinities: the moral geographies and everyday practices of being men in Turkey. Gender, Place & Culture, 24(3), 381-402.
- Monsutti, A. (2007).Migration as a rite of passage: Young Afghans building masculinity and adulthood in Iran. Iranian Studies, 40(2), 167-185.