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Man, Interrupted

A Bodily Journey Toward Maleness

Tony Kemerly

D. H. Lawrence once said: “How beautiful maleness is, if it finds its right expression.” I was raised with an understanding of a connection between sport and masculinity that insidiously created within me a performative ideology that took years to even recognize. And unfortunately, those that I grew up with were also inoculated with this essentialist understanding of masculinity. This understanding of maleness I was expected to internalize was so pervasive and powerful that it became much like what Sandra Lee Bartky described for those searching for femininity—a normative perspective everywhere and nowhere dictated by everyone and yet no one in particular—thereby making the acquisition of the organically and personally achieved maleness alluded to by Lawrence nearly impossible.