Thursday, July 18, 2013

the second wave of American manliness

The next section of A queer History of the United States is called New Bodies for the Body Politic. I found this section to be quite interesting. Here is my take on it. After the civil war America sought to redeem itself from all the bloodshed and carnage. What I see as a ''second wave'' of American maleness emerged out of the ashes of the war. The first ''wave'' was the fabricated man, or the American cowboy, I discussed in my post entitled Progressiveness and a Fabricated Man. This was a persona invented to create a uniquely American man separate from the Englishman. So, the post civil-war American man was still rugged, masculine, virile and patriotic except now he wore a soldier's uniform and held a bayonet.
    An explosion of statues paying tribute to this new ''man'' were erected all over the country after the war. These statues not only glorified the heroic soldier[s] but the generals and politicians of the war as well. But just as the cowboy persona had/has his homoerotic undertones so does the soldier. Vulnerability and impetuousness are the other side of the coin when it comes to soldiering, which means that the potential for same-sex desires are ever present. And who doesn't like a man in uniform?

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