‘Marketplace Masculinities’ Within the International Public Arena of Global Media: Towards a Christian Spiritual Approach to Male Embodiment and ‘Genital Ensoulment’

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

Under the pressure of deconstruction, criticism within the gender discourse, and the fading away of the traditional patriarchal male role functions, male identity is in a crisis. Due to the impact of the mass media, masculinities are currently mostly determined by the healthiness, body-image and achievement ethics of a market-driven economy (marketplace masculinities). It becomes closely associated with the instant need-satisfaction of a consumerist society. As a public issue, maleness is moulded by power, six-pack fitness, wealth, success, money and phallus. Plastic instant masculinity is shaped by the ancient old symbol of phallus, the post-modern Zeus: Rambo, and the leisure idol of playboy. This article considers the extent to which the Christian spiritual notion of phronesis within inhabitational theology can reframe masculinities, and argues that from a spiritual perspective males can grow into compassionate men. The article concludes that patriarchal headship should be transformed and replaced by the theological public of servant-hood and the trans-cultural notion of an eschatological identity.

  • 4)

    See ibid., p. 76.

  • 7)

    Max L. Stackhouse, ‘Theology, Public’, in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd edn (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2002), pp. 1131–1133 at p. 1131. In terms of Stackhouse’s four publics, the role of the social media and the internet could be a fifth public: the cyber-and-social-web public.

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  • 8)

    Dirkie Smit, ‘Notions of the Public and Doing Theology’, International Journal of Public Theology, 1:3–4 (2007), 431–54 at 434.

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    J. Collins, The Mind of Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 52.

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    D. Galasiński, Men and the Language of Emotions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p. 81 and pp. 12–17; see also J. S. Kahn, Introduction to Masculinities (Chichester and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 2–3 and M. Cohen, Fashioning Masculinity: National Identity and the Language in the Eighteenth Century (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 26–41.

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  • 13)

    See I. M. Harris, Messages Men Hear: Constructing Masculinities (London: Taylor and Francis, 1995), p. 104.

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    J. Steinberg, Three Letter Plague: A Young Man’s Journey through a Great Epidemic (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2008), p. 6.

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    Steinberg, Three Letter Plague, p. 6.

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    Ibid., p. 326.

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    M. Sidebé, ‘The Future of AIDS Starts Today’, Outlook—Special Section: The State of the AIDS Response, 2 (2010), 32–3.

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    J. Rutherford, Men’s Silence : Predicaments in Masculinity (London and New York: Routledge, 1992).

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    Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (New York: Citadel Press, 1968), p. 54.

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    Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1965), p. 29.

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    Ibid., p. 47.

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    W. Smith, Hungry as the Sea (London: Pan Books, 1979), p. 130.

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    A. Petersen, Unmasking the Masculine: Men and Identity in a Sceptical Age (London: Sage Publications, 1998), p. 15.

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    Rutherford, Men’s Silence, p. 173.

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    Ibid., p. 178.

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  • 43)

    Horrocks, Masculinity in Crisis, pp. 138–46.

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    D. Gauntlett, Media, Gender and Identity (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 38.

  • 48)

    Ibid., pp. 187–91.

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    Ibid., pp. 159–63.

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    I. M. Harris, Messages Men Hear: Constructing Masculinities (London: Taylor and Francis, 1995), p. 105.

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    S. Bordo, The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1999), p. 43.

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    E. Monick, Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1987), p. 9.

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    Horrocks, Masculinity in Crisis, pp. 16–20.

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    Bordo, The Male Body, pp. 32–44.

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    R. Tikkanen, Knowledge-Based HIV Prevention Intervention—Targeting Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Summary and Discussion of Six International Research Reviews (Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare: Edita Västra Aros, 2008), p. 36.

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    E. C. Green and A. Herling, The ABC Approach to Preventing the Sexual Transmission of HIV: Common Questions and Answers (McLean: Christian Connections for the International Health and Medical Service Corporation International, 2007), p. 9.

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  • 69)

    Ibid., p. 28.

  • 70)

    Ibid., p. 34.

  • 72)

    See P. Bourdieu, Masculine Domination (Oxford: Polity, 2001).

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    E. Rubin, ‘Veiled Rebellion’, National Geographic, 218: 6 (2010), 28–53 at 36.

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    Driver, ‘Growing Up Christian and Male’, p. 55.

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    P.L. Culbertson, Counselling Men (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), p. 22. See also D. Browning, ‘The Problem of Man’, in D. Blankenhorn, D. Browning and M. S. Van Leeuwen, eds, Does Christianity Teach Male Headship? (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans 2004), pp. 2–12.

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  • 83)

    See James N. Poling, Understanding Male Violence: Pastoral Care Issues (St Louis: Chalice Press, 2003).

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    Kimmel, ‘Masculinity as Homophobia’, p. 189.

  • 95)

    Ibid., p. 275.

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    Ibid., p. 279.

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    G. Dalbey, Healing the Masculine Soul (Dallas/London: Ward Publishing, 1988).

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    D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), p. 56.

  • 100)

    Ibid., p. 77.

  • 103)

    See J. Watson, Male Bodies: Health, Culture and Identity (Buckingham/Philadelphia: University Press, 2000), pp. 4–5.

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    Krondorfer, ed., ‘Introduction’, p. 12.

  • 105)

    See ibid., p. 13; see also Patrick Arnold, Wildmen, Warriors and Kings: Masculine Spirituality and the Bible (New York: Cross Road, 1991), p. 52.

  • 106)

    Bordo, The Male Body, pp. 221–3.

  • 109)

    See G. B. Collins and T. Culbertson, Mental Illness and Psychiatric Treatment: A Guide for Pastoral Counsellors (New York: The Hayworth Press, 2003), pp. 1–7. Modern psychiatry recognizes the importance of the spiritual aspect of the person.

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