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Performing American Masculinities

Overview

This collection highlights the fluidity of masculinity in American popular culture at the turn of the new millennium and beyond by examining possibilities for male identity formation. Each chapter mines American popular culture—theatre, film, literature, music, advertising, internet content, television, photography, and current events—to pose questions about the process of gender creation and the contestation of masculinities as constantly changing political forms. The first section explores masculinities within ...

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Overview

This collection highlights the fluidity of masculinity in American popular culture at the turn of the new millennium and beyond by examining possibilities for male identity formation. Each chapter mines American popular culture—theatre, film, literature, music, advertising, internet content, television, photography, and current events—to pose questions about the process of gender creation and the contestation of masculinities as constantly changing political forms. The first section explores masculinities within late capitalism and includes studies of Seinfeld, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and reality television. The second section addresses identity when masculinity intersects with race, religion, disability, and sexuality, including chapters on Barack Obama, the O.J. trial, and popular movies.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"This overview of turn-of-the-millennium sexual identities examines the contradictions and instabilities inherent in latter-day American masculinity as evidenced in pop culture.... A fine contribution to contemporary gender criticism....Highly recommended." —Choice, October 2011

Journal of American Studies

"'Performing American Masculinities' offers a series of essays on representations of masculinity across a range of contemporary popular cultural texts. The essays in the collection assess a broad range of cultural artefacts all produced in a relatively short time frame (roughly 1990-2010).... All of the essays offer sustained close readings of the cultural texts/formations that constitute their primary objects. These readings are, more often than not, thorough and engaging. In almost every instance, the value of the cultural objects under study to the subject of contemporary masculinities is apparent. In this, the volume provides a useful introduction to the contemporary cultural formations of masculinity." —Journal of American Studies, November 2012

David Buchbinder

"Performing American Masculinities focuses usefully on a range of specific anxieties related to masculinity, including those created by differences of race and sexuality, as well as of non-normative gender subjectivities." —David Buchbinder, Curtin University of Technology

author of Manhood in America - Michael Kimmel

"Shaw and Watson have assembled a collection in which well-known cultural artifacts—the OJ trial Seinfeld, metrosexuality and Barack Obama, among others—are reconsidered in the light of gender studies. The result is fresh and bold, enabling us to see these events and images in a new light." —Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America

W. Edwards

This overview of turn-of-the-millennium sexual identities examines the contradictions and instabilities inherent in latter-day American masculinity as evidenced in pop culture. Watson (history, African American studies, and gender studies, East Tennessee State Univ.) and Shaw (theater arts, Hartwick College) have assembled nine timely essays that
cover a range of cultural touchstones and phenomena. The Geico cavemen in the insurance company's ads, Dr. McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy, the sitcom Seinfeld, O. J. Simpson, metrosexuals, and Barack Obama all receive extended and thoughtful critiques. The volume touches on age-old barometers of masculine identity--including film, advertising, capitalism, and presidential campaigns--but also highlights more typically 21st-century indicators and influences, for example, viral videos and reality television dating shows. By stressing masculinity's flexibility and ephemerality, the collection succeeds in puncturing what one author describes as 'the inflated notions of sexuality and the "true self."' A fine contribution to contemporary gender criticism. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. --ChoiceW. Edwards, Longwood University, October 2011

Journal of Popular Culture

"With a judicious balance between gender theory and pop-cultural readings, Performing American Masculinities offers a diverse and exciting collection suited to a variety of disciplines and projects. The text provides a cogent introduction to masculinities and a specialized focus that marks the potential of masculinity studies through popular culture. RICKI LAKE SHOW" —Journal of Popular Culture

From the Publisher
"Performing American Masculinities focuses usefully on a range of specific anxieties related to masculinity, including those created by differences of race and sexuality, as well as of non-normative gender subjectivities." —David Buchbinder, Curtin University of Technology
Choice

"This overview of turn-of-the-millennium sexual identities examines the contradictions and instabilities inherent in latter-day American masculinity as evidenced in pop culture.... A fine contribution to contemporary gender criticism....Highly recommended." —Choice, October 2011

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253222701
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Elwood Watson is Professor of History, African American Studies, and Gender Studies at East Tennessee State University. He is author of Outsiders Within: Black Women in the Legal Academy after Brown v. Board.

Marc E. Shaw is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Hartwick College. His recent publications include contributions to the book Twilight and Philosophy.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: From Seinfeld to Obama: Millennial Masculinities in Contemporary American Culture Marc E. Shaw Elwood Watson 1

Part 1 Masculinities and the Market: Late Capitalism and Corporate Influence on Gender Processes

1 Masters of Their Domain: Seinfeld and the Discipline of Mediated Men's Sexual Economy C. Wesley Buerkle 9

2 Sexually Suspect: Masculine Anxiety in the Films of Neil LaBute Brenda Boudreau 37

3 The Might of the Metrosexual: How a Mere Marketing Tool Challenges Hegemonic Masculinity Margaret C. Ervin 58

4 Fathers, Sons, and Business in the Hollywood "Office Movie" Latham Hunter 76

Part 2 Beyond Gender Alone: Defining Multidimensional Masculinities

5 Popular Memory, Racial Construction, and the Visual Illusion of Freedom: The Re-mediation of O.J. Cinque John Kille 105

6 Obama's Masculinities: A Landscape of Essential Contradictions Marc E. Shaw Elwood Watson 134

7 The Male Rapunzel in Film: The Intersections of Disability, Gender, Race, and Sexuality Johnson Cheu Carolyn Tyjewski 153

8 Masculinities in Dating Relationships: Reality and Representation at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Sexual Orientation Jimmie Manning 167

9 "Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Real Man?": Female-to-Male Transgender Embodiment and the Politics of the "Real" in A Boy Named Sue and Body Alchemy Michel J. Boucher 192

Contributors 233

Index 235

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