Creating "Worthy" Men: Boundary-work among Young Men in Masculine Pick-up Communities
Sigal Oppenhaim-Shachar, firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, we have witnessed the increasing popularity of the "pick-up" dating scene in the Western world. These small "manhood communities" offer men who see themselves as "half-men" or not manly enough a sense of empowerment, by teaching them how to pick up women. These young men enroll in courses that give them a perception of entitlement, and the tools to become an alpha male, able to "conquer" a woman's space or body.
This article tracks ongoing dialogues which took place from 2011 to 2013 between young men who were involved in one of these "pick up" communities, while introducing feminist content that aimed to broaden their awareness. The data was collected through interviews, questionnaires, and field diaries. During the process, it became evident that some men were willing to give up their hegemonic masculinity, while others strengthened their hold on it, trying hard to become worthy alpha males. The analysis has revealed three types of negotiation, derived from the encounter with the concept of alternative masculinities.
In the current field of manhood studies, most of the literature stresses how men are abandoning hegemonic masculinity in favor of a "new masculinity." This article explores a culture in which men are encouraged to adopt hegemonic masculinity, and sheds light on the way it encourages rape culture.