Games People Play: The Collapse of “Masculinities” and the Rise of Masculinity as Spectacle

  • Damien RidgeEmail author


Perspective is important. When Andy Warhol produced an art piece of 13 police mugshots of “Thirteen Most Wanted Men” for the New York World’s Fair in 1964, the work was hurriedly painted over by concerned authorities before the public could view it. It was only years later that the Warhol’s subversive (homoerotic) gaze on the FBI list was more widely appreciated (Crimp in Social Text 59: 49–66, 1999; Siegel in Art Journal 62(1): 7–13, 2003). I begin with this story because it points to key issues I want to take up in this chapter, in particular, the importance of “audience” and different readings when it comes to masculinity. While current theory tends to locate masculinity in the actors, what if it is better located in the audience? What if masculinity was better understood as a kind of public spectacle? In addition, there are the naturally subversive elements of gender (e.g. think of drag performances); the game-like nature of masculinity (men might feel compelled to play along with expectations of masculinity—think of brutal playground expectations on boys—but it doesn’t mean they are not aware of its inauthenticity); and the inevitable—but less discussed link—with sexuality (see below).


Masculinity Social construction Intersectionality Manhood acts 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WestminsterLondonUK

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