30 July, 2021

Getting The Yang Of It

A fascinating examination of what it means to be a man in modern India.

Getting The Yang Of It
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The whole question of what it means to be a man in modern India is a vexed one. Notions of morality, sexuality, nationalism, consumerist desire and the anxiety produced by modernity, to name but a few, combine to produce a reality difficult to grasp and make sense of. The retrospective masculinisation of tradition, which seems to find expression in more assertive and muscular visions of nationalism, coexist with the increasing fetishisation and commodification of the male body. The expanding boundaries of sexuality and the changing power relations between genders have placed man in contexts unfamiliar and often threatening and make any reading of masculinity in India a complicated issue.

In Moral Materialism..., Joseph S. Alter attempts to disentangle some of these strands and provide a refreshingly original perspective. He locates the enquiry in the desirability of celibacy and the conservation of semen from where many of the traditional notions about masculinity originate, arguing that “the whole discourse on...

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