Tag: Masculinity

Lizards and the Idea of Mexico

In the summer of 1782, Don Juan de Luna, a respected elder citizen of the City of Mexico, nearly choked on a lagartija, a lizard, when he ate it to ease the throbbing tumor on his tongue. The details are foggy, but he likely followed the protocol established by his medical counsel, the celebrated physicist,… Read more →

Not a Day for Salads: The Football Food Rules of the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LII will soon be upon us, along with its super-sized spread of snacks, an American meal as iconic as Thanksgiving. Matching debates over what to serve on the fourth Thursday in November, food rules guide what supposedly pairs perfectly with the nation’s favorite sport. Super Bowl party menus most often include foods like… Read more →

Real Men & Real Food: The Cultural Politics of Male Weight Loss

When Weight Watchers first launched an online program “customized just for guys” in 2007, one of their advertisements proclaimed, “Real men don’t diet.” This counterintuitive declaration evoked the questions that animate my current research. I’m analyzing how the consumer culture constructs notions of “real men” through depictions of food and the body, particularly during moments… Read more →

Coin-Operated Boys: An Interview with Carly Kocurek

Carly Kocurek’s Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade (Minnesota, 2015) examines the origins of modern video game culture in the “classic” arcade era, spanning the release of Pong in 1972 and the industry’s first major collapse in 1983. She traces the formation of the “technomasculine” during that period, as the arcade became… Read more →

Andrew Jackson’s Love Letters

In our era of political “bromances” between leaders who value aggression and belittle sensitivity, it’s easy to forget that expectations as to how men should interact with other men are always changing. In the 1820s, President Andrew Jackson, whose legacy Donald Trump has embraced, fashioned himself as one of the most virile men of his… Read more →

“Made in America”: O.J. Simpson, Race, and the Triumph of Toxic Masculinity

Black and white America could not have been further apart than on the morning of October 3, 1995 when a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. While most white Americans responded to the jury’s “not guilty” verdict with horror, many African-Americans rejoiced. Filmmaker Ezra Edelman seeks to… Read more →

Denver’s One-Lung Army: Disease, Disability, and Debility in a Frontier City

This post originally appeared on REMEDIA. In 1879 the famous showman, P.T. Barnum joked that, “Coloradoans are the most disappointed people I ever saw. Two-thirds of them come here to die and they can’t do it.”1 Barnum was referring to Colorado’s growing reputation in the late-nineteenth century as a popular health destination. Long before the state became… Read more →

Confessions of a Newborn Father: The Birth of the “Hands-on” Dad

By Ginny Engholm

A recent Vicks Nyquil commercial has a typical scenario for an advertisement set in a workplace. A clearly sick man — coughing, runny nose, the whole works — opens what looks like an office door a crack, pops his head in, and delivers the one line of the commercial: “Dave, I’m sorry to interrupt. I gotta take a sick day tomorrow.” While this might seem like a very traditional depiction of masculinity, a guy at the office asking his male boss for a day off, the ad subverts this narrative by revealing an adorable toddler standing up in his crib. The tagline of the ad — “Dads don’t take sick days. Dads take Nyquil” — makes the ad’s argument clear. A real man is one who is so dedicated to his real job — fatherhood — that he continues to parent through his colds and flus. While the idea of moms’ total and complete dedication to their roles as mothers has of course been part of our cultural understanding of motherhood for, well, forever, the shift in the past decade or so of depicting fathers as equal-opportunity martyrs, devoted to the care of their children, strikes many modern viewers as something new.

The Gender Trap: The Problem of Raising Boys As Warriors

By Sean Cosgrove

It strikes me as odd that having identified a crisis of masculinity in our young boys that anyone would suggest these same boys should be raised more like ‘warriors’ than they otherwise would have been. And yet, Maggie Dent, a former high school teacher and counsellor, suggested at the beginning of this year that many of the social ills facing young men today—from Sydney’s king-hit culture to lacklustre personal and academic performance—are related to a broader societal problem of strangling the masculinity out of the boy.

George Washington’s Bodies

Many Americans could tell you that George Washington was tall and that he had false teeth. Why? Although he is disembodied in national symbols such as the portrait on the one dollar bill and the massive obelisk and the capital city that bear his name, Americans are no strangers to George Washington’s body. The history… Read more →