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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Masculinity is an important health determinant and has been studied as a risk factor for communicable diseases in the African context. This paper explores how hegemonic and complicit masculinities influence the lifestyle risk factors for noncommunicable diseases among men. A qualitative research method was used, where eight focus group discussions were conducted among adult men in Maseru, Lesotho. The data were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. Although the participants typically described taking responsibility as a key feature of what it meant to be a man in Lesotho, their reported behaviors and rationales indicated that men commonly abdicated responsibility for their health to women.

Participants were aware of the negative effects of smoking on health and acknowledged the difficulty to stop smoking due to the addictive nature of the habit. The initiation of smoking was linked by participants to the need to be seen as a man, and then maintained as a way of distinguishing themselves from the feminine.

Regarding harmful alcohol consumption, participants reported that stress, particularly in their relationships with women, were linked to the need to drink, as they reported limited outlets for emotional expression for men in Lesotho. On the subject of poor diet, the study found that most men were aware of the importance of vegetable consumption; the perceived lengthy preparation process meant they typically depended on women for such healthy food preparation. Almost all participants were aware of the increased susceptibility to diverse negative health effects from physical inactivity, but because of the physical nature of the work, those engaged in traditionally masculine occupations did not exercise.

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In the context of lifestyle risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, masculinity has positive and negative impacts. It is important to de health education programs targeting men to successfully mitigate the negative health impacts of masculinity. Masculinity is primarily founded on life events and activities in most societies Evans et al.

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As a result, definitions of what it means to be a man change from time to time, and in different circumstances Mutunda, The society in which men live encourages the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are associated with increased health risks among men Courtenay, While a of studies describe masculinity as a set of traits, behaviors, and roles generally associated with the male sex, it is noted that the concept is not exclusive to the male sex as some females demonstrate some masculine characteristics and behaviors as well Connell, ; Ratele et al.

Similar to findings from the developed countries, traits associated with masculinity in African literature include ambition, analytical reasoning, assertiveness, invulnerability, competitiveness, virility, fearlessness, physical strength, independence, leadership, and control.

Men are defined by their ability to endure pain, their self-reliance, being the decision-makers in their households, and essentially by avoiding anything that makes them look feminine Moynihan, ; Mutunda, ; Ratele, a. The willingness to take risks is also a trait typically included in scales developed to measure masculinity Shefer et al. Masculinity influences health-seeking behaviors. Even though contemporary masculine identities continue to change, beliefs and behaviors regarding health-seeking behaviors are adversely predisposed by masculinity constructions Courtenay, Different studies acknowledge four facets of masculinity: hegemonic, complicit, marginalized, and subordinate masculinities Connell, ; Evans et al.

This paper focuses on exploring how the characteristics of hegemonic masculinity impact the lifestyle risk factors for noncommunicable diseases NCDs. Hegemonic masculinity is the dominant type of masculinity with qualities including heterosexuality, whiteness, superiority, physical strength, and suppression of emotions Connell, ; Scott-Samuel et al. Messerschmidt reports different and flexible expressions of hegemonic masculinities that are relational and exist as a pattern of hegemony rather than domination. Some men embody hybrid hegemonic masculinity, which incorporate subordinate masculinity Messerschmidt, Complicit masculinity is a relatively more passive expression of masculinity Connell, ; Evans et al.

Marginalized masculinity is a subculture of hegemonic masculinity. This category lacks some of the qualities of dominant masculinity, such as physical strength Connell, ; Evans et al. Individuals in this category such as disabled men often demonstrate similar traits as hegemonic masculinity Connell, ; Evans et al.

The last category, subordinate masculinity, exhibits characteristics opposite from those of hegemonic masculinity. Individuals in this group demonstrate femininity traits including physical weakness, and they easily express their emotions Connell, Masculinity is an important health determinant Courtenay,as individuals who identify as masculine are more likely to adopt risk behaviors that are less likely to promote good health and longevity Courtenay, ; Sloan et al.

The male disadvantage in health may then be understood by exploring the pressure placed on men to prove their masculinity by taking part in masculine practices that are often harmful to their health Rosaleen, In addition to ignorance in describing their health, masculine men are indifferent and resistant to suggested healthy living practices regardless of the negative consequences of risky living practices Rosaleen, Masculine individuals disassociate themselves from health-promoting behaviors because they perceive these as feminine Gordon et al.

Research reports that masculine men would rather risk their health and well-being in avoidance of femininity Garfield et al. studies have established 511 asian guy looking for Hawes woman only association between risky health behavior and the characteristics associated with being a real man Ratele, b. The study was based on qualitative data from focus group discussions FGDs. FGDs were chosen to collect interactive data that encourage participants to identify and clarify their views. The study was conducted in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho.

Sixty black adult Basotho men aged 18—65 years participated in eight FGDs exploring the risk factors for NCDs, such as cancer, respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes between November and February The median age for all participants was 35 years and the majority The majority of the men Each focus group consisted of 6—10 men.

During the last two FGDs, discussions reached saturation point because no new information was gathered. Smaller groups were more effective compared to the bigger groups.

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511 asian guy looking for Hawes woman only bigger groups were often dominated by participants who appeared naturally talkative, while smaller groups allowed all the participants to effectively take part in the discussions. Two strategies were used to recruit the study participants. First, purposive sampling, that is, selective sampling from existing social groups, was undertaken. Purposive sampling allowed the researchers to focus on particular characteristics of the population. This approach helped us gain greater insights into the risk factors for NCDs among adult men from different angles.

It also helped researchers to identify common themes that were evident across the sample. The targeted social groups included religious groups, recreational and sports clubs and business cooperatives. Liaising with the leadership of each social group, researchers identified and invited adult men who were available, willing, and able to participate in the FGDs.

The second recruitment strategy was the identification of well-known men from different communities who were asked for the names of adult men they knew who they thought would be willing to participate in the study. These prominent men comprised local school principals and small business owners who knew many men in their respective communities. Men recruited through this strategy were members of the general population in Maseru.

This approach minimized possible biases from purposive sampling. The FGDs were exploratory in nature and were deed to have an atmosphere that encouraged open conversation and mutually beneficial interactions. The FGDs lasted for approximately 1—1. Participants were given informed consent forms prior to each FGD. The ed consent forms were collected before conducting the FGDs and were later stored in a locked cabinet at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, accessible only to the authors. Facilitation was deed to keep the FGDs on topic, while also allowing participants the freedom to pursue avenues that they found particularly important.

We asked participants to keep everything discussed during the FGDs confidential; however, we acknowledge that this could not be guaranteed. Each participant was given a unique identifier to ensure their anonymity. Participation in the study was absolutely voluntary, and no reward was given to the participants.

Thematic analysis was used for data analysis. NVIVO is a software program used to organize, categorize themes arising from the data, and analyze qualitative data such as FGDs and interviews. Participants in this study were ordinary members of society.

In general, participants did not define a man in a polarized fashion. Factors comprising sex, age, marital status, fatherhood, and taking responsibility were discussed with varying emphasis on each factor. Reflecting an extreme hegemonic masculinity, one participant alleged:. For one to be considered a man, one should be having a wife and also some concubines or girlfriends outside his marriage.

The feminine type of a man who takes a good care of himself, respecting his family and wife is seen as not being man enough. A man is a sheep, he does not cry. A man is expected to be resilient and able to stand the pain in any forms of it. A man should mask his emotions and emotional experiences he goes through and should always come out as strong. Participant 2, FGD 2. For some participants, by virtue of being born male, and being at least 18 years old, one would be referred to as a man in Lesotho:.

A man is a male individual who is 18 years old and can take responsibility, married or not married. As long as he is old enough to be trusted to take responsibility in the family, he is a man. Participant 7, FGD 3. Gender and age were not enough for some participants; they strongly believed that males had to be married in order to qualify to be men.

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Having a wife and children gave masculine men a sense of pride and recognition. A man is a married male person. When he is married, he is now having the responsibility of caring for other people, his wife and children which he did not have before getting married. Participant 2, FGD 8. Traditional masculinity ideology qualified males who attended traditional initiation school as men. When he gets back to the society, he is now referred to as a real man because we have now taught him how to be a man while he was in the mountain. He can even get married now. Participant 3, FGD 7. The teachings given at initiation school were believed to shape and equip young males to become responsible men.

Contrary to this belief, some younger masculine males who were born and had grown up in urban areas did not subscribe to the traditional initiation school and its teachings:.

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