Not so long ago, what the average American man did mattered more than how he looked. Since the 1970s, however, projecting the right look has become more and more essential, and men are spending millions of dollars on fitness training, bodybuilding, hair replacement, and cosmetic surgery in the relentless pursuit of physical perfection. What has caused American men to fall into the beauty trap so long assumed to be a special danger for women? This book looks at the confluence of social, economic, and cultural changes that have shaped the new cult of male body image in postwar America. Lynne Luciano explores what men are doing to themselves, asks why they are doing it, and discovers what this new world tells us about American society today.
Herbert Sussman's book explores ideas of manhood and masculinity as they emerged in the early Victorian period, and traces these through diverse formations in the literature and art of the time. Concentrating on representative major figures - Thomas Carlyle, Robert Browning, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Walter Pater - Sussman focuses on areas of conflict and contradiction within their formulation of the masculine. He identifies the development of a 'masculine poetics' as a project which was for the Victorians, and continues to be, crucial to an industrial and commercial age. The book reveals manhood as an unstable equilibrium, and is responsive to the complex ways in which the early Victorians' masculine poetics simultaneously subverts and maintains patriarchal power.