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Reconstructing the BodyClassicism, Modernism, and the First World War$
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Ana Carden-Coyne

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546466.001.0001

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The Sexual Reconstruction of Men

The Sexual Reconstruction of Men

(p.160) 4 The Sexual Reconstruction of Men
Reconstructing the Body

Ana Carden‐Coyne

Oxford University Press

Considering men's bodies in relation to cultural signs, this chapter explores sexual reconstruction in medical rehabilitation, and commercial and visual culture. It focuses on the sexual reconstruction of the male body in Anglophone networks of medicine, leisure, and consumer culture. The diversity of masculinities is highlighted, taking a queer theoretical approach to considering why different men found body culture life enhancing. The chapter argues that reconstruction reoriented men's bodies towards practices of ‘therapeutic consumption’, entwining sexualized selfhood with the state, medicine, and civilian reintegration. Reconstruction is seen in rehabilitation, prosthetic technologies, classical cultures of masculine virility, and in modern art, which furthered the fantasy of the superior male body. It also explores the central contribution of photography to male embodiment, and discusses the role of mass consumption in promoting the sexual reconstruction of men through the modern reconfiguration of the classical ideal.

Keywords:   men, bodies, sex, body culture, photography, consumerism, mass media, muscles, masculinity, disability

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