Can you remember the first time in your life when you thought to yourself: "Do other people see me the same way as I see myself"? You may be aware of the general period in time when you started to ask yourself that question, but you're probably not able to pick out a specific point in time when you first did. Do you think others' perceptions of you have remained stagnant throughout your entire life? Probably not. You've gone to a few different schools, you've likely belonged to various groups of friends, and you've perhaps even had an assortment of different jobs; and in each of those new social settings, there's a good chance that you altered your identity to some extent. Throughout your life, you've been creating and maintaining a personal identity. An identity that's always been changing, and will always continue to change. Everything you do, every person with whom you interact, and every position you hold in life will shape your identity in various ways. For boys in our society, a very common identity one can create for oneself is one of masculinity. When boys tend to begin creating this identity, though, they do not realize they're doing so; they usually just want to be cool, fit in, and/or act like other boys around them, and, in doing so, they help to build and perpetuate a notion of masculinity. Some boys struggle with this, other boys seem to "naturally" be masculine, while others, at times, seem to deliberately challenge the idea of masculinity and its supposed importance in our society. The concept of identity formation has interested me for quite some time. Specifically, the value and importance our society associates with masculinity and various identities that surround the idea for boys and men. Why do certain boys and men value the qualities of an über masculine identity, while others associate no personal value whatsoever with the concept? In my study, I attempt to uncover and decipher the ways by which boys perceive masculinity, as well as they ways they develop and act out a personal masculine identity.


Gunn, Raymond


Sociology and Anthropology


Gender and Sexuality


masculinity, maleness, boys, identity, father figures, role models, symbolic interactionism, strategic interaction, erving goffman, the generalized other, interaction tendencies, total institution, partial institution

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Ian New