Bordo Essay

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In the essay, “Beauty (Re) discovers the Male Body”, by Susan Bordo argues that masculinity is defined quite differently at the end of the twentieth century from the way it had been defined throughout the previous one hundred years. Masculinity is changing over time. Bordo emphasizes the importance of beauty, “open” and sometimes flamboyant display of the male body, emotional expressivity, and even effeminacy in the construction of contemporary masculinity. She implies that the representations of men’s bodies are generally viewed in the same or similar context as the use of women’s bodies. Bordo’s sense of humor and easy to relate style of writing makes her essay an interesting read and opens up the idea that men are starting to deal with being in the “sexual spotlight.” After reading this essay, I agree with Bordo’s argument. Men are entering a world of sexual critique. It is different than what we are accoustomed to. The introduction of men into a world of sexual critique and a constant gaze of desire from the opposite sex and, more importantly, the same sex, brought about many different evaluations and opinions. According to Bordo’s claims made in the essay, a man’s worth and pride are challenged with accusations that “real” men do not choose clothing that will enhance their appearance, do not look in a mirror, nor are they even supposed to know what a mirror looks like because each of these things would – stereotypically, of course – immediately turn a man gay. In addition to these ideas, homophobia is more complexly present in this new taboo, as the text suggests that to be so dependent on the gaze of another person for one’s sense of self worth is incompatible and contradictory to being a real man (Bordo 134) . However, she provides the reader with a quick rebuttal in their defense, stating that maybe heterosexual men would feel more

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