Play the Man! Men and Masculinities in Interwar Britain

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This book investigates ideas of men and masculinities in interwar Britain in three different areas: psychology, physical education and sex. Using a broad range of sources from different walks of life it explores how men and masculinities were constructed in different ways for different purposes. The central argument is that 'a man' was not something one was born as, but something one could aspire to be, if one trained oneself according to the rules and standards laid out in the period. Becoming a man was not purely an aestetic pursuit, but deeply entrenched in discourses of Nation, State, and Race. Men's bodies experienced a new form of interest in interwar Britain as physical training was becoming a general pursuit and sexual reformers and conservatives tried to come to terms with a post-Victorian society. The interwar period saw a strong tendency away from the ideal of men and women as opposites towards a heterosexual matrimonial ideal wherein men could try to establish a masculine identity. This tendency created new frontiers where homosexuals, 'perverts', 'misfits' and 'freaks' were seen as opposites of the 'real man' in the symbolic world of the early twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSaarbrücken
PublisherVDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & C o. KG
Number of pages128
ISBN (Print)978-3639128130
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 12262060