Men of Parts: Masculine Embodiment and the Male Leg in Eighteenth-Century England

Karen Harvey
2015 Journal of British Studies  
AbstractThis essay explores changes in eighteenth-century male clothing in the context of the history of sexual difference, gender roles, and masculinity. The essay contributes to a history of dress by reconstructing a range of meanings and social practices through which men's clothing was understood by its consumers. Furthermore, critically engaging with work on the "great male renunciation," the essay argues that the public authority that accrued to men through their clothing was based not on
more » ... a new image of a rational disembodied man but instead on an emphasis on the male anatomy and masculinity as intrinsically embodied. Drawing on findings from the material objects of eighteenth-century clothing, visual representations, and evidence from the archival records of male consumers, the essay adopts an interdisciplinary approach that allows historians to study sex and gender as embodied, rather than simply performed. In so doing, the essay not only treats "embodiment" as an historical category but also responds to recent shifts in the historical discipline and the wider academy towards a more corporealist approach to the body.
doi:10.1017/jbr.2015.117 fatcat:jb4vwk2gqfayrjgftdavfnzzta