By S. Horlacher
An in-depth research into the development of male identification in addition to a distinct and complete ancient assessment of the way masculinity has been developed in British literature from the center a long time to the present. This book is a vital contribution to the rising box of masculinity stories.
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Extra info for Constructions of Masculinity in British Literature from the Middle Ages to the Present
Even while analyzing the diversity of masculinities among men, it remains important not to repeat the patriarchal flaws of prefeminist research and write women out of the picture. This is not just an empirical question about what is in the sources. Absences and presences can be equally theorized. Thus, even in a text explicitly about men, the absence of women can be problematized and made an important part of one's analysis. The ability that some men sometimes have to construct their gender identities through interactions among their own in homosocial settings rather than through interactions with the 'other' is itself a mark of male privilege, for the oppressed are forced into operating under the gaze of the dominant group.
This is a historically specifically masculine way of understanding the relation between feeling and acting. It expresses a fear that if we feel our feelings we will be unable to act. So we ignore our negative emotions and take up arms to fight, to oppose, in order to feel that we exist. We don our battle armor, ostensibly to defend against the external foe, but really, I want to suggest, because we feel that without the additional support of that external skeleton we will sink under the unbearable weight of our own sorrows and fears.
Instead of saying that an infant is a mixture of male and female, physicians are to allege that the intersex child is clearly either male or female, but that embryonic development has been incomplete .... An intersex child assigned to become a girl, for instance, should understand any surgery she has undergone not as an operation that changed her into a girl, but a procedure that removed parts that didn't belong to her as a girl. (64f. [emphasis K. ]) "All efforts," doctors insist, "should be made to discourage any feeling of sexual ambiguity" (64).