Take it Like a Man! : Considering Masculinity in Contemporary America
White, Michael Delaney
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In 1993, theorist Judith Butler announced: "gender is burning." While she was alluding to the 1990 drag documentary of similar title, the statement holds some metaphorical stock. Indeed, surrounding 'gender', there is and has been for quite some time a fire - of controversy, of social violence, and of academic debate. Consider the text you are reading to be another log lobbed onto the flames. Not only is the topic boldly represented and discussed in countless popular magazines, websites, radio and television programs, but also serves as a theoretical lens through which Gender Studies departments work across the world. Work in this field has yielded an entire body of literature concerned with shattering traditional notions of 'gender' as a biological certainty, a physiological characteristic that is largely determinant of the way in which men and women develop individually and as a group. Though the topic of gender equity appears in forums as varied as popular cultural and critical theory, studies focusing on 'masculinity' as such are of a slightly younger breed. This is the topic at hand today.