By Katarzyna Wojnicka

Abstract: The early data from several countries regarding the gendered implications of COVID-19 suggest that men are more likely to die as an effect of infection (Purdie et al. 2020). This is explained through biological factors as well as behavioral and life-style measures characteristic for men such as higher rates of smoking among male populations (especially in China) or certain travelling styles that expose men to contact with larger groups of unknown people (EIGE 2019). On the other hand, several ad hoc analyses with a focus on the gendered aspects of the crisis suggest that while more men may die from the virus, women are more exposed to the social side effects of the pandemic (Wenham 2020). They are the majority of healthcare workers, they are more burdened with care obligations in the family, and they are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, the levels of which have increased rapidly since social distancing measures have been introduced.

What has not been widely discussed however, is the analysis of relationships between men’s responses to the crisis linked to (a lack of) care activities and its connection to specific forms of masculinities that are still persistent in (European) societies. In this paper, I use a three dimensional model of care – a) self-care, b) care for others, and c) care for one’s society (Engster 2005) – in order to analyse how certain masculine behaviors rooted in gender as social practice resonate with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: masculinities, care, Covid19, caring masculinity, protective masculinity

Katarzyna Wojnicka is a PhD, sociologist, and Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology and Work Science and Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg. She is currently involved in several research projects concerning men and masculinities, migration and social movements in Europe. Before re-joining the University of Gothenburg, she worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Leeds, UK; Centre for European Research at Gothenburg University, Sweden; and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as well as Researcher at Dissens: Institute for Education and Research and DeZIM e.V. – German Centre for Integration and Migration Research in Berlin, Germany.

She has published in outlets such as Men and Masculinities, Social Movements Studies, International Journal for Qualitative Methods, Evaluation and Planning Studies, and others. –