Masculinity is culturally associated with firmness and stability. La donna è mobile, but the man has always been assumed to be what he simply is. Nothing could be further from the truth: even merely from the mid of the twentieth century manhood has gone through immense changes: the image of man, gender norms and men’s bodies altered dramatically.
This lecture focuses on the economic and sociologic developments that underlie these changes. The American magazine Playboy is an interesting case: it was meant to serve a class of young, well-off male consumers, averting he danger of homosexuality – the dreaded ghost of the fifties – with the explicit presence of female nudes. Women’s bodies are the shield that guarantees male heterosexuality and make the new lifestyle accessible to a new class of men.
Thirty years pass before Playboy is published in a Dutch version; homosexuality is no longer a taboo, but by then the domain of men amongst each other with female nudes as a cover has been established as a fixed pattern.
Maaike Meijer (1949) is a dr. of literary studies and professor of gender studies at the Centre for Gender and Diversity (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) of Maastricht University. Her publications are in the field of (mostly Dutch) poetry and popular culture, and she was editor in chief of the series of five books on Culture and migration in the Netherlands (2003–’05). Recently she also published The 100 best poems for the VSB Poetry Award 2011 and M. Vasalis / Geert van Oorschot: Correspondence 1951-1987 (with Nop Maas, 2009). In 2011, her book M. Vasalis. A biography came out, which was published in six editions and was nominated for De Gouden Uil and the Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema Biography award. Up to now, twenty thousand copies of the book were sold. Currently, Maaike Meijer studies the relations between poetry and songs, and works on a book about contemporary representations of masculinity.
Venue: NAiM/Bureau Europa
Date: Thursday, 31 January 2013
Time: 20h - 22h
Moderation: Saskia van Stein
Photograph Maaike Meijer: Gemma Raemeckers