The emergence of discourses constructing the ‘new man’ and his wayward sibling, the ‘new lad’, are now firmly entrenched as subjects to be critiqued in media and cultural studies-informed teaching and research. Continuing to question how these discourses inform the performance of modern masculinities is thus central to a progressive gender politics.
This symposium will explore the extent to which heterosexual men have responded positively to the changing gender relations that inform contemporary social relations. Is it possible, for example, to identify a new form of heterosexual masculinity which is sufficiently self-reflexive not to be fearful of difference? Or are ‘straight’ men still anxious to construct and police boundaries between themselves and the queer or feminized other? And to what extent are men’s attitudes to gender and sexuality still shaped by questions of class, ethnicity and spatial proximity?