OLDER HUSBANDS AS CARERS: CONSTRUCTIONS OF MASCULINITY IN CONTEXT OF CARE-GIVING
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The main aim of the article is to describe how older men who are caring for their wives construct their mas- culinity in the face of their new role and tasks. My research draws on semi-structured, in-depth interviews with ten men between 64 and 90 years old who are the primary carers for their wives. The findings revealed four ways in which older care-givers talk about masculinity, and for all of them hegemonic masculinity was a point of reference. Masculinity was defined not only in relation to the carer’s role, but also old age and the state of men’s health. The ways of perceiving the activity of caring were crucial. Analysis allowed the main motives of providing care to emerge: obligation, love, and attachment. The research findings showed that an important factor in the way masculinity is constructed by older men caring for their wives was the definition of care. Men who perceive care as a masculine task feel less frustrated in the care-giver role, and sometimes gain satisfaction and a source of self-esteem from care-giving.
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