I’ll wrassle ya fer it

“Masculinity is, as a word, make-shift, and as a practical concept, uselessly broad, and wide open to opportunism and disingenuity. May infants make a claim to masculinity? Probably not, but everybody else can. Confidence and strength, both of mind and body, a willingness to pay a great price in defense of something nominally outside the realm of masculinity (e.g., a woman or child), a desire for hard-won power and glory, an appetite for raw life, a respect for law and order and genuine authority but a nearly unthinking willingness to destroy persons and institutions when necessary: men may have described and proscribed all that as essential to masculinity, but in practice all that it apparently means is that physicality—a larger frame, bigger muscles, and a hairy body—makes all the difference in the cultivation of psychological, emotional, mental states and conditions that favor, enhance, unleash, condone, sanction, and enjoy violence. Righteous, necessary violence, to be sure, but violence all the same. Masculinity—righteous, necessary violence—equals heroism, then? The bloody kind? The fierce kind? The blackly melancholy kind? The laconic kind? Certainly not the kind who ‘fought but stayed at home.’ It’s interesting to note that Orpheus, who went to Hell to rescue Eurydice, who harrowed, conquered, tamed Hell, may be considered a kind of apotheosis of the masculine, not for his bravery or skill, but because he was an idiot who could not do the one little last thing that would ensure victory over death and a life of happiness. Masculinity equals not merely heroism, but anti-heroism as well. It’s even possible that anti-heroism suits masculinity better than the strait-jacket of simple-minded and stiff-gestured heroism.” – Gary Amdahl, “Two Considerations of Masculinity”

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