Chapter

Masculinity and the Absent Presence of the Male Body

Diane Railton and Paul Watson

in Music Video and the Politics of Representation

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748633227
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671021 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633227.003.0007
Masculinity and the Absent Presence of the Male Body

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This chapter examines the very different status and function of the body in the construction of masculinity. It is suggested that it is precisely the absence of the sexualised male body that not only comes to define masculine subjectivity in music video but is also an important process through which hegemonic masculinity maintains its power. The representation of black masculinity in D'Angelo's untitled (‘How Does It Feel?’) is simultaneously typical and atypical of the way in which tropes of raced and sexed identity are inscribed on the black male body. The presence of masculinity is predicated on the absence or deletion of the male body. Quite ironically, the rewritten and re-authored marginal black masculinity of untitled is perhaps more aesthetically complex and politically important than hegemonic masculinity's continual reiteration of its own past successes.

Keywords: black masculinity; male body; music video; masculine; D'Angelo; untitled

Chapter.  9300 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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