Since the mid-nineteenth century, sports have been considered one of the pre-eminent signs of masculinity in our culture - indeed, woman were originally excluded from them. Athletic activity was the school in which boys were taught the manly virtues - strength, skill, endurance, teamwork and the competitive desire to beat your opponent.
The Arena of Masculinity is a brilliant analysis of the relation between sports and the myths of gender - what constitutes masculinity and femininity - in our society, and it analyses how athletic activity has become one of the major arenas in which this gender myth is articulated, dramatised, and reinforced.
But if traditional masculinity is the major symbolic message of sports, that same masculinity is also the object of erotic desire for gay men, and brings up some major paradoxes. Pronger examines first the gay athlete in straight sports, then examines the extraordinary explosion of sports within the gay community.
The Arena of Masculinity is a book of intense interest to anyone who wants to think about the phenomenon and meaning of sports today.
There are signs of shelf wear to the dust jacket. Otherwise, the book is in very good condition.