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Malleable masculinity

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:fashioning male identity in Teding van Berkhout's Travel Letters (1739-1741)
Drawing evidence from the letters and travel journal of Jan Teding van Berkhout-scion of a wealthy regenten family from Delft-this article scrutinizes how elite masculinity and wellevendheid (politeness) were constructed, perceived, experienced, and contested in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic. Berkhout's correspondence not only hints at some important differences in the Netherlandish and British interpretation of polite masculinity but also evidences that ideas about what a "true man" was and how he should behave could differ substantially within one and the same family. Differences in age, gender, and the unequal balance of power created a set of-coexisting, competing, or clashing-multiple masculinities. Whether masculinity was performed front- or backstage also mattered, as politeness was frequently put on hold and replaced by intimate bawdiness. In fact, the spectrum of masculinities available in Berkhout's correspondence casts some serious doubt on Connell's idea of hegemonic masculinity.
Journal: Journal of Family History
ISSN: 0363-1990
Volume: 45
Pages: 3 - 19
Publication year:2020