Analyse the ways in which contemporary understandings of masculinity as something that is worn, or performed, have influenced literary representations of the male gender.
Masculinity primarily consists of different behaviors, practices, and languages in regards to a specific culture and organization which remains commonly involved with the male culture and thereby is something feminine considering the cultural aspect (Caudwell, 2015). Masculinity thereby satisfies both the aspect which includes the positive and negative aspect of the male dominance (Spence & Helmreich, 2014). In a positive approach, masculinity provides the means to understand and identity significations for the males and in a negative approach, they are considered among the viewpoint of the female society. Thus, the theory of masculinity and male behaviors are not primarily considered as the key product of genetic coding or biological predispositions (Schwenger, 2014).
Every society has the concern regarding the cultural aspect of gender but everyone does not have the knowledge to accept and understand the concept of masculinity. In the modern age, the term assumes in determining the behavioral results arising from a particular individual. The understanding of the phenomena also helped in the development of several characters in the novels, which clearly depicted the features and role of masculinity in terms of understanding the nature of the male behavior (Franklin II, 2012). In order to build up the concept of individuality, the idea of masculinity has been developed by modern Europe which is supported by the expansion of colonial empires and economic understandings. Masculinity in terms of comparison with the concept of feminism, have been considered as a vague area of discussion . In relation to modern days, a culture that does not treat their men and women equally does not hold the idea to develop the concept of masculinity (Mcfarlane, 2013). The social aspect of masculinity primarily illustrates the attention of the historical specificity and the historical changes. Thus, the construction provided different ways in which masculinity can be acted upon or lived in terms of executing the potential changes associated with the society. The sociological aspect of masculinity primarily provides an overview of men regarding their behaviors, values and perspectives (Gardiner, 2013). Hence, the authors of specific novels have understood the personal and the political factors regarding the desire of gender justice to provide a proper justification. The first wave provided primary concern to deal with the abnormal role of the male performances and the cost to men with whom they remain strictly adhered to the dominant expectations and the ideologies of the masculinity (Gangested & Eaton, 2012).. In recent years, a sociologist has become more interested in developing idea regarding the position and experiences of the men with an extent that particularly helps them in shaping the social and cultural outfit. The rapid shift in the sociology of gender and sexuality thereby led to the establishment of various literary characters in terms of showing the ideologies of men behind the theory of power and masculinity (Seidler, 2013). The sociologists are thereby interested in grasping the knowing the identities, which are constructed, and what impact does it have on the socially prescribed roles primarily dealing with the change in male behavior (Franfin II, 2012). The relationship between masculinity, identity and gender as the social structure has been clearly depicted in the establishment of strong literary characters in the novel Fight Club written by Chuck Palahniuk and the Swimming Pool Library Novel written by Alan Hollinghurst (Goodman, 2013).
In accordance with the study from the post-structuralism perspective, it can be understood that the masculinity is something that is worn or needs to be performed for determining the various aspects of the male behaviors associated with the sociology of understanding the meaning of masculinity in terms of shaping an individual character. Thus, the importance of masculinity in understanding the given process for identifying work provides validation on assessing the role of particular theories associated in terms of shaping the character of a particular individual (McCormack, 2013). The difference has also been significantly pointed out by the differences produced in understanding the sexual orientation but also includes the forms of ethnicity and embodiment in terms of variations in the cultural and national aspect of the masculine performance. As Because individuals do not possess any fixed biological identity, any sense of self can come out through the working for achieving a sense of belongingness in context to the present social world (Cobler & Smith). Hence, the process of belongingness is not considered as an authentic process as far as the men masculine performances are considered as a central point in achieving entry into a particular community of men. This primarily emphasizes on the fact that masculinity is something that needs to be focused in order to provide a clear demarcation between the individuals (Cohler & Smith, 2013). The desire of belongingness thus creates both gender and an individual’s sense of self in terms of masculinity is understood. The association of men and masculinity suggests that both have a direct link to influence a wider field of social and cultural transformations. The question of identity once again emerged because whether masculinity provides knowledge on the idea associated with the key dynamic of the private and the public in terms of considering the emotional as well as the rational values (Anderson, 2012).
A claim provided suggestion on the fact that men and masculinities are in immense crises, which are constantly and vociferously changing considering the prime nature of the crisis associated with masculinity (Berberich, 2013). The idea that masculinity provides is in the state of deep crisis and is widely accepted as a real fact. Then again, the same case is repeated which assumed to exist in different forms and may be regarded as representation of the masculinity itself (Gangested & Eaton, 2012). Thus, masculinity has certainly become unfashionable and the huge crisis has been primarily created by a reversal in the value of male and female traits. Being logical, disciplined and rational, every single trait in masculinity has been marked as a factor concerning with the emotional, spontaneous, expressive and compassionate way of increasing the maturity and health (Wade & Rochlen, 2013).
Masculinity and manliness is considered as the major theme in the novel- Fight Club. The first passage from the book that has been chosen in context to the given essay provides a brief idea regarding the fact the narrator is at a support for testicular cancer and is in the clutches of Bob, one of the central characters of the book (Wartenberg, 2013). The quotations from the books significantly explain the phenomena of masculinity associated with the plot and circumstances of the novel (Gangested & Eaton, 2012). Thus, after gaining a brief knowledge, it can be clearly stated that there has been an obvious significance of the fact that there is a group of men with testicular cancer and out of them many has also lost their testicles. This provided a heavy impact on them thereby making them feel empty (Wegner, 2015). The removal of testicles created concern over the fact that their manhood is lost and they have been missing the element by which they will be regarded as men (Seidler, 2013). The male organ has been predominant throughout the text representing the group of testicular cancer and the threat to castration has been sued as strongest weapon for those in the mayhem project uses. Thus, it is clearly justified with the title of the given essay that masculinity is considered as something, which is worn (Seidler, 2013). From the novel, it can be also concluded that whenever someone provides a threat for the project mayhem they were not killed, rather they have been shown with a bigger knife and a rubber band. This posed a bigger threat for the people as after death, the people were locked with Bob (Gangested & Eaton, 2012)
The second piece from the novel used in page 141 provides an example of the fact how God is used as a symbol of masculinity and another father figure. It has been considered that a boy’s father is considered as an example and role model for defining the real meaning and understanding of masculinity ( Alt et al. 2014). In context with the given novel, it has also been considered that a boy without a father and without God have not been considered as a model for manliness and thus shall need to spend their life in searching of manliness (Gangested & Eaton, 2012). Thus, the novel represents a notion that primarily emphasize on the masculinity and manliness in its own underground society bordering a culture and status. Men were asked to seek out these underground groups as the example of cancer support group provided in the novel shall join in an attempt to be around other men and discover what particularly it means to become a man (Seidler, 2013). The use of ambiguous narrator primarily illustrates how the gender does not matter. The novel Fight Club thus provided with the useful information in discovering the exact meaning of what is meant to be a man (Brennan, 2015). Thus, the novel helped in establishing the central flaw in men who is seeking to be manly and thereby provides the reason contributing to the lack of self-acceptance and self-awareness (Corneilee et al. 2012). They are men and have the entire ingredient that compliments with the definition of being manly. The male characters thus associated with the novel Fight Club provided a great example in a way the society conformed rejection to them and thus helped in establishing the fact that masculinity has a direct influence on determining the characteristics of being a man and thus needs to be worn for the contemporary understanding (Gangestad & Eastod, 2013).
Thus, the novel helped in exploring the struggle associated with the masculine identity. The novel also helped in highlighting how the Fight Club provided a temporary relief to the men from their daily life, which made them think that they are powerless (Levant & Richmond, 2016). The participants believed in the fact that the frustrations associated with their daily life will get vanished in a way if they are being to showcase their power which will help in reviving their masculinity that has been lost. Thus, with the visible comments and justification, the author has successfully led to the establishment of the characters which helped in providing the knowledge regarding the vision of thinking of the men regarding masculinity is considered (Alt et al. 2014).
In the novel, The Swimming Pool written by Allan Hollinghurst helps in discussing the framework of the masculinity in terms of understanding the male characteristics. The author has primarily constructed to display the domination of the novel’s central narrator who has been represented in terms of homosexual and homo-social desire (Johnson, 2014). The narrator has thus explained the various facts and monopoly surrounding the masculinity of the gay society and thereby helped in developing the central character surrounding a gay, sub-metropolitan, secluded and safe world, which exists in the big city and holds offer sin that particular city to which the person has been associated (Mc Cormack, 2012). The world of the novel describes the masculinity and the world of the homosexual desires. The narrator goes around the males cycle in order to quench the homosexual desires and thereby the subject of women was not mentioned anywhere in the novel. The novel thereby helps in describing the homosexual masculinity by building diaries and memories of Lord Charles Nantwich in the novel (Johnson, 2014). The novel also emphasized on developing a historical recollection of the homosexuality masculinity that existed from the beginning of the century. Thus, the novel helped in building up literary representation of the male gender that is primarily defined through their sexual orientation and homosexuality (Edwards, 2012). Analyzing of the different characters in accordance with the play thereby provides important information regarding the authentic purpose and factors associated for portraying the masculinity associated with the given novel.
William Beckwith is considered as one of the major characters of the novel, the Swimming Pool and is undoubtedly regarded as the hero of the novel. On developing the central character of the novel, William Beckwith has been portrayed as a 25-year-old, sexually active male belonging to an aristocratic background. He loiters around and passes the time without having any aim in life. The author created the framework of the character in such a way that primarily emphasized on the homosexual masculinity nature (Gangested & Eaton, 2012).. The analysis of the character provides information regarding the role of masculinity over the establishment of the character (Johnson, 2014). The character has been described as a figure with much that does not have any direction even though he has been coming from the upper-class background in relation to health and wealth. These are the credentials and the facts for which he has been portrayed as extremely attractive and sporty and it helped him to become extremely self-confident to a point of self-importance (Seidler, 2013). However, the present temperament concerning the self is not considered as a means of productive fashion. Through the demonstration of the aristocratic background, he has already inherited a part of his grandfather’s fortune, which helped in making him financially independent (Wagner, 2015). His masculinity is not based on any workplace and thus, he does not have to strive for a career nor for money. Thus, the author used the element of masculinity to form the character and thus portrayed it as a figure having everything around him and who had no family to provide the necessary support. Thus, there will be no ties attached to him that would force him to change the way he leads his lifestyle. The heterosexual world of men makes him puzzled as he his character was primarily based on the element of homosexual masculinity (Seidler, 2013).
The lifestyle of the workers from the surrounding areas of the city differ far from the lifestyle of the central character surrounding William and thus from the narrators point of view the workers have considered as an alien breed. In developing knowledge during the course of the novel study, the author provides a strong and powerful description regarding the patriarchal and the heterosexual system and thereby displays a strong tendency of homophobic masculinity (Mc Farlane, 2013).
Hatred and acceptance of the heterosexual community have been exposed thoroughly in the novel. Thus, the author helps in explaining the underlining facts that have been discovered by William and thereby acts upon the homosexual masculinity at a very early age. On understanding, the title the Swimming Pool the reader will help in developing knowledge regarding the perfect environment of the bodily pleasures (Spence & Helmreich, 2014). The novel thus leads to the establishment of a central character that primarily emphasize on the development of the well being of a particular individual associated with the sexual activities and explaining the experiences of the homosexual male self (Gangested & Eaton, 2012). The establishment of the character primarily emphasized on the factor masculinity that helped in providing the dominance over the other factors in terms when masculinity is concerned. An obligatory to the aristocratic upper class, William also enjoyed the same education as his alter ego Lord Charles Nantwich received (Johnson, 2014).
The author also added a valuable point, which helped in showing the character’s upper-class background that seems to evoke the self-confidence of the central character. The character might remain in vein but he is wealthy and has intense self-confidence that provides to the development and establishment of the central character (Schwenger, 2014). William is not only wealthy but also suffers from a homosexual masculinity that has been underlined by the author as a self-reflective statement (Spence, 2014). The characteristics thus described contribute in describing regarding the vital point of masculinity that helped the central character to provide dominance upon others who were considered inferior in response to others. Thus, the novel has clearly helped to develop the idea regarding the sexual long-term relationships surrounding the central character William. William thus showcases the dominant role in relationship either through the help of sexuality or intellectual He has also been considered as a person who preferred teenaged lovers and liked their inexperience’s (Edwards, 2012).
The establishment of the second literary character in the novel also underlined the feature of masculinity. Lord Charles Nantwich played the character of alter ego of William Beckwith. He also enjoyed the same aristocracy as William enjoyed and faced many problems concerning the role model of the heterosexual masculinity (Seidler, 2013). All great men formed the part of his childhood and thus primarily emphasized on his homosexual masculinity. The homosexuality desire and the love for men become so strong that it formed a crucial part for the rest of the life (Levant & Richmond, 2016)
Both William and Charles were given the best possible education and one of the primary concern of the institutes is that male model was formed as part of role models in the institute that primarily provided an example on men who became prominent leaders either in economics, politics, and society (Stotzer & Shih, 2012). Although the character formed the part of the British molding mechanism, his homosexual orientation made him take different turns, which helped in explaining about the masculinity of the homosexual and heterosexual dominance (Gangested & Eaton, 2012). Thus, the opposition found the climax in the anti gay mood. Thus, the character has never been portrayed as patriarch. After completing his higher education, he has undergone personal desire for the African. Thus, even though his sexuality would down grade him if it has been made public, he holds a higher position in the society due to his high political status. Thus, this masculine attitude of the epoch never became a part of the Charles (Johnson, 2014)
Thus, from the present essay topic in can be formulated that culture helps in reshaping the sense of manhood by evaluating the masculinity that is draped over the body and not drawn from the inner sources. The essay also helped in developing and analyzing the ways in which the contemporary understanding of the masculinity is regarded as something that is worn and not performed. Thus, understanding the phenomena of masculinity has also influenced the literary presentations of the male genders in two well-known novels namely The Fight Club and the Swimming Pool Library.