In the middle ages, the concept of masculinity was created from the Bible and biblical sources. The definitions of masculinity of the middle ages can be further narrowed into four distinct categories: heroic, Christian, courtly lover, and intellectual. Most of them oppressed women. Since both greek and Christian philosophers and theologians considered men to dominate and an Order of Hierarchy, to control the violence of mankind.
The heroic male was based on the
ideals for pre-Christian warriors and rulers. In this case, men were, expected to be physically strong, intelligent and both willing and able to conquer and maintain rule over others, whether in a domestic or community setting.
From these ideas, masculinity was based
purely on three factors: impregnating women, protecting
dependents and providing for one’s family. In addition, males failed to live up to the set standards were labeled as “feminine” and weak, and would lose status within the community (Bullough 34).
However, as medieval society changed, the concepts
associated with masculinity had to be restructured.
By the middle of the eleventh century, an expanding
population created new professions, especially in urban areas, as yet without gender definitions. These new occupations included many positions within the church and the secular government.
These male occupation roles could not be gendered in the same manner because most were filled by celibate men (McNamara 4-5)
Secondly, celibacy imposed on a growing number of men
meant that there would be a surplus of unmarried women, who would be “unprotected, uncontrolled, and undefined” (McNamara
Overall, each category of masculinity was defined by three
specific factors: a goal, a means of achieving this goal, and a
definite attitude towards women. Although some characteristics are shared between categories, each of the three main defining factors differs greatly, causing the contradictions present within medieval society.
Fa’afafine are people who identify themselves as a third-gender in Samoa, American Samoa and the Samoan diaspora. A recognized gender identity/gender role since at least the early 20th century in Samoan society, and some theorize an integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine are assigned male at birth, and explicitly embody both masculine and feminine gender traits, fashioned in a way unique to this part of the world. Their behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to conventionally masculine.
Some fa’afafine recall believing they were girls in childhood, but knew better as adults. In Samoa, there is very seldom ridicule or displeasure towards a biologically male child who states that they are a girl. For instance, one study showed only a minority of parents (20 percent) tried to stop their fa’afafine children from engaging in femininebehavior. Being pushed into the male gender role is upsetting to many fa’afafine. A significant number stated that they “hated” masculine play, such as rough games and sports, even more than females did as children.