In this history of manhood and masculinity, the author argues that modern formulations of masculinity, despite any sense of naturalness and constancy, are in fact, idealized cultural products of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He examines the process of social construction whereby this traditionalized model of the heterosexual male was selected, delineated, and maintained. The author focuses attention on two domains essential to the legitimation of Western cultural constructs - medicine and the law. Through court reports and newspaper accounts, McLaren shows how everyday people, not just the juridical elite, helped to define through their testimony, an ideal of manhood and proper masculine behaviour. He then considers the medical world: psychiatrists and sexologists emerged as arbiters of sexual and gender differences, devising new categories of deficient masculinity - homosexuals, sadists, exhibitionists, and transvestites. Forming such deviant types required the medical community, he argues, to further demarcate a particular form of preferred masculinity.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press