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This response piece situates the articles in the section within current trends in the study of medieval masculinities – including the reclamation of the “femfog” and scholarly work by Carolyn Dinshaw, Jack Halberstam and Mads Ravn – and within current discourse of what it means to “be a man” in popular culture, citing the 2019 Gillette advert “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” and the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” feminist movements. The response identifies a performative display of gender – termed ‘psuedomedieval masculinity’ – which borrows from medieval culture to ‘medievalise’ modern toxic masculinity. Using Halberstam’s idea of “masculinity without men”, the piece demonstrates how medieval romances, including those discussed in the section, facilitate a more open and inclusive conceptualisation of gender.
Copyright © 2020 the author(s)
Herbert McAvoy, Liz ""The best a man can be": Subverting Masculinity’s Excess(es) in Medieval Texts." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 56, No. 1 (2020) : 134-148.