In recent years, historians of masculinity have demonstrated the increasing importance of the family and domesticity in national life in nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Britain. Central to these studies is the examination of fatherhood. Emphasis was placed in public discourse on an ideal of the uxorious husband and the authoritative father as the basis for the stability of society. In addition, men had to be able to demonstrate their masculinity in the workplace and the all male association. Maintenance of masculinity as a social status affected and influenced cultural and social perceptions of the phenomena of sex and sexuality between men. Historians of masculinity, notably John Tosh and Megan Doolittle, stress the inherent instability of masculinity structures that required men to uphold authority in the home, and preserve parity with male peers in the workplace and all male associations.1 In addition, masculine authority over women and children, as well as over men who were not considered to be fully masculine, had to be maintained in the street and in public places, in order for masculinity to be seen to be preserved and bolstered.


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© Sean Brady 2009

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