sexta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2011


«From the time of the ancient Greeks up until the Enlightenment, differences between male and female were generally posited as ones of degree. Women were regarded as simply inferior versions of men. Man was generally seen as superior in two essential respects: in the more rational nature of his soul and in his embodying of the active factor in reproduction.

Indeed, although man has always been the rational animal, sexual activity has never been far from dominant conceptions of “manhood.” For example, Vern Bullough (1994, 43) argues that in the Middle Ages, although one of the basic assumptions about sexual difference was that a man was superior to a woman because he represented the rational soul, ultimately, the medieval man was defined in terms of sexual performance, measured, rather simply, as the ability to get an erection.

In a different context, that of pre-eighteenth-century America, Anthony Rotundo (1993, 10) claims that the essence of manhood was to be found in a man’s patriarchal role as head of a household. In both these examples, it is the notion of duty that is the key to understanding whatmakes a man. A man must perform his sexual duty according to nature, and he must take his place at the head of the family as the embodiment of God’s authority.

A man did not possess a “masculinity,” for “a person’s identity was bound up with the performance of social roles, not the expression of self” (Rotundo 1993, 13). Yet by the nineteenth century, the situation had changed dramatically. Being a man was now understood in terms of an inner personal identity. [...] R. W. Connell (1993) argues that we can speak of a gender order existing in both Europe and North America by the eighteenth century in which masculinity as we know it today had been produced. Connell also notes the connection of this concept with the growth of individualism and the emerging idea of the modern self.»

What is a Man?: Heterosexuality and the Technology of Masculinity
Steve Garlick
Men and Masculinities 2003; 6; 156