STUDY: Men Distressed at Abortion Suffering from ‘Hegemonic Masculinity’

Image via Shutterstock, a father and son playing baseball.

A new study published in the journal Men and Masculinities argues that men who don’t want to see their unborn child aborted are perpetuating “hegemonic masculinity.”


Led by three women, the study “Negotiating Masculinity in a Woman’s Space” sought to understand how men navigate “hegemonic ideals of manhood” when they accompany their girlfriends to abortion clinics for pregnancy termination.

To study this, researchers interviewed 27 men at an abortion clinic in the U.S. Midwest. The average man was 28, and the researchers ranked the masculinity of each man: “hegemonic,” “complicit,” “subordinated,” “marginalized,” or  “reformed.”

According to the study, many men struggled with their partner’s choice. Men who wished to raise their children were accused of trying to adhere to “hegemonic masculinity,” but the researchers ultimately argue that these men were “unsuccessful” in doing so.

One man — ranked as “hegemonic” — struggled to express his emotions to interviewers.

“My first thought and option was to get an abortion,” one man, age 37, told researchers. “But I did change my mind at the last minute. She went on with it. It bothered me … I spent most of the time trying to convince her not to have the abortion,” he lamented.


Another man, age 24, told researchers he would rather financially struggle than see his unborn child aborted. “If we’ve got to struggle, I’m going to get up out of here and do what’s necessary for us to raise this child,” he told the researchers.

Using feminist masculinities theory, the research team appears to mock the men for not being able to uphold “hegemonic masculinity” in abortion clinics. In these clinics, doing so is “unattainable due to the prioritization of women in the abortion setting.”

Power-reversal. Isn’t that the end goal?

Hegemonic masculinity is “legitimized by societal norms and through exerting power over other women,” the researchers describe. Since doing this is difficult in an abortion clinic, researchers claimed that the abortion disrupted men’s identity.

But that’s fine, because ultimately, the abortions were successful, according to researchers.

Other men disagreed with the abortion, but didn’t feel financially ready to take care of a newborn child. Researchers claimed these men suffered from “marginalized masculinity” and that their “discomfort” with the abortion was merely a sense of failure as a man.


“If I had at least more money, if I was actually financially ready, yes, I would have went totally against it. ‘No, no we are just going to have it,’ straight and forward, but I’m not actually financially staged for it,” said young man, age 18.

The only good men in this situation are those who exhibited “reformed masculinity.” Researchers praised these men for accepting “the woman’s right to make the abortion decision” and providing “emotional support and comfort to partner following abortion.”

“The role of the man should be, no matter how he feels about it … is supposed to be behind the woman 100 percent in the decision, whether she wants the child or not,” said one man, age 21, who was praised as having “reformed masculinity.”

The study concludes by hoping that men become more welcoming to abortion.

“While patient centered care rightfully supports the primacy of women in the abortion setting, abortion-providing facilities may want to consider fostering men to be allies and caretaking partners for patients,” the study concludes.


PJ Media reached out to the research team multiple times for comment, but did not receive a response. The study was funded by The Fellowship in Family Planning Research Fund, a pro-abortion group that provides fellows with thousands annually in financial support.

Matt Lamb, Communications Director of Students for Life, told PJ Media by phone on Sunday after reading the study that he thought “Freudian psychobabble had died out.”

“Men who don’t want to see their kid aborted are being responsible fathers by taking responsibility for their action and seeking to fulfill their duty to protect their kids from being harmed through abortion,” said Lamb.

“Instead of attacking men who rightly want to be involved as parents, we should be applauding men for fulfilling their proper role as the protector of the family.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member