Representations of Irish Masculinity in Vaudeville

  • Jennifer Mooney
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


Over the last thirty years or more, scholars have stressed the interplay between constructions of gender identity on one hand and constructions of the nation and national identity on the other. Not only is the nation state a largely masculine and patriarchal entity, with men at the heart of government and the military, but as Nagel argues, nationalist culture “resonate[s] with masculine cultural themes.” Central to ideas of national identity are the masculine ideals of bravery and duty, ready to be put to use defending the honor of the feminized nation. In order, therefore, to help define the nation, it can also be helpful to define and construct definitions of ideal masculine and feminine behavior and characteristics. In her study on gender and race in the United States, Gail Bederman argues that from the early to mid-nineteenth century, the newly emerging American middle class sought to distinguish themselves from other classes, partly through renewed notions of gender identity. The brand of hegemonic masculinity that was promoted sought to characterize the ideal American man as full of strength, virility, and character.1


Irish Woman Hegemonic Masculinity Irish Immigrant Irish Masculinity Irish Laborer 
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© Jennifer Mooney 2015

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  • Jennifer Mooney

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