Masculinity in the modern west: gender, civilization and the body

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Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 - History - 285 pages
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What does it mean to be a man? To be manly? How has this changed throughout history? This text examines the manly stereotype, which stresses courage and athletic comportment, which from the eighteenth century onwards became representative of normative modern society. By using the ideal of the "man of action" as a focal point, a wide range of hitherto neglected aspects of the male body are brought to the fore, from styles of bodily comportment and medical concerns about health, energy, and sexuality to more contemporary issues pertaining to body shape, muscularity, athleticism, and age. This book argues that the loudly proclaimed "crisis" of Western manhood has been marked by attempts to compensate for the gap between the historic bodily ideal of manly action and the banalities of material prosperity and conveniences of modern existence.

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