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Running ScaredRunning Scared

Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body

Dana Desonie


Book published by Wayne State University Press


Running Scared responds to the absence of critical attention to male sexuality in film by bringing representations of phallic masculinity into the spotlight. In his analysis of films, novels, paintings, photographs, popular music, jokes, and videos, Peter Lehman investigates the patriarchal culture that keeps the male body—and especially male genitals—out of sight. Lehman documents the pervasive anxiety underlying images of the male body, arguing that attempts to keep male sexuality hidden in the pursuit of "good taste" and an avoidance of perversion maintains the "male mystique" and preserves the power of the phallus.

Lehman examines representations of the male body and male sexuality in a variety of settings and through many different lenses. In films, Lehman explores the symbolic enculturation of males, assumptions about power and the male body, and the ways that men’s and women’s bodies are marked differently with regard to scarring, wounding, and aging. In addition to film, Lehman also considers such varied material as Jim Thompson’s noir novel The Nothing Man, sexology and medical representations of male sexuality, the video Dick Talk, penis jokes in Hollywood films of the 1970s and 1980s, and popular music by Roy Orbison. This edition of Running Scared also includes a new chapter on male nudity in the films of the 1990s, adding fresh analysis to this classic text. An updated preface situates the book within the current critical climate. Scholars of film studies, cultural studies, and gender studies and general readers interested in representations of gender and sexuality will appreciate this valuable text.





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University Press Audiobooks
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