WRESTLING WITH MANHOOD: EXPRESSIONS OF MASCULINITY IN BALKAN OILED WRESTLING
Wrestling in many cultures is considered an essential expression of manhood and masculinity. However, recent research in gender studies has problematized the notion of masculinity, suggesting that it has several different faces. Through examining the philosophies, representations and practices surrounding male wrestling in general and the sport of oiled Pelivan wrestling in Macedonia, this paper seeks to not only illustrate differing notions of masculinity but to show how they are expressed and
... y are expressed and played out in the context of this traditional form of wrestling. The drum beats militaristically, accompanied by the crazed, biting wail of the zurla. The young boy, clad in leather trousers and oiled from head to foot, begins to dance the wrestler's dance of dedication. Advancing towards the musicians, his face sets into a hard, stern expression. Each spring-heeled step is a leap, higher, into the air as his hands slap down upon his thighs. The poise is that of a defiant, militant warrior. Nearby, another young wrestler ruthlessly overcomes his opponent, watched by around five hundred men. The only adult female present, a British civilian spokeswoman for UN, turns to me and 1 Trevor Hill is a graduate of English Language and Theatre Studies, Glasgow University and holds post-graduate Masters Degrees in Social Anthropology from Queen's University of Belfast and Edinburgh University. He has undertaken fieldwork in The Balkans and Scotland as part of his research into traditional wrestling, as well as fieldwork in Poland, researching Polish alternative theatre. He is currently a teacher of English in Poland and a regular contributor to a teaching Wrestling with Manhood: Expressions of Masculinity in Balkan Oiled Wrestling.