“A Missing Sense of Maleness”

Miriam G. Reumann

in American Sexual Character

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520238350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930049 | DOI:
“A Missing Sense of Maleness”

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Kinsey's study encouraged a national referendum on sexual behavior, prompted new research on related topics, and provided ammunition for social reformers of all stripes. The report also affected Americans' understanding of gender norms and relations, focusing popular attention on the relation between ideal codes of masculinity and actual male sexual behavior, and promoting discussion of what it meant to be a man in the atomic age. Few kinds of men—heterosexual, white, able-bodied, and financially comfortable—held unquestioned title to masculinity, with more problematic modes of masculinity represented by those whose sexuality, race, body, or class placed them outside of the normative ideal. However, the postwar years saw attention paid to maleness that was unprecedented in its scope. Theories of marriage and family, patterns of class formation and consumption, and mass culture all focused popular and expert attention on the shifting boundaries and meanings of masculinity.

Keywords: social reformers; heterosexual; maleness; norms; race

Chapter.  12725 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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