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Tip: To review the bibliography…

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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Blechner, M.J. (1998). Maleness and Masculinity. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(4):597-613.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(4):597-613

Maleness and Masculinity

Mark J. Blechner, Ph.D.

I have several aims and objects in this essay. I would like to reexamine our notions of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, focusing primarily on men and masculinity. I would like us to study the difference between the metaphoric and concrete in our fantasies, behavior, and clinical understanding and misunderstanding. I would also like to take steps toward restoring the standing of psychoanalysis as the preeminent queer science.

The question “What is a real man?” provokes much humor in our society. What is a real man? Someone who doesn't eat quiche? Over the Passover holidays, I heard that the real reason the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years is that the men refused to ask directions. The fact that there is a whole repertoire of “real men” jokes betrays the great anxiety, in our culture, about what a real man is. There is no comparable set of “real woman” jokes. The very word “real” captures the problem. What is not a real man? Is it a fake man? A woman? What qualities are condensed into the “realness” of a man?

What is a real man? Is it defined by how big your salary is, how big your intellect is, how big your muscles are, how big your other things are? Is it defined by your bravery, your ability to walk on hot coals, your ability to fend for yourself in psychoanalytic debates? Is it defined by a rejection of dependency, not only not asking directions, but not looking at maps, and not even letting your wife or partner look at a map? Is it defined by a propensity for rough-and-tumble play? Is it defined by whom you have sex with and with what enjoyment? Is it defined by what you do sexually with your sex partner—which act, how often you do it, how hard your penis is, how long your erections last? I think that the answer to these questions would depend on whom you asked and what their cultural background is.

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