Since the 1980s masculinity, more specifically ‘hegemonic masculinity’ has been a focal point of gender and sexuality discourses. The short story writings of Mantel, Hislop, and most particularly, Tremain, reflect, critique and problematize such understandings of masculinity. This chapter is shaped around three key areas that are often seen as defining masculinity: work, sexuality and the differences between male and female bodies. As with the historical strand of chapter three, in this chapter there will be a focus on history and one particularly significant historical moment for men and masculinity: the 1980s. It is through this analysis that questions will be addressed about how and why masculinity is a part of contemporary feminist discourses and, through the work of Judith Halberstam, will consider the ways in which queer theory and postmodern feminism have informed such debates. The momentary nature of the short story will be explored in greater depth too, in order to understand how the contemporary and historical moments interact in this narrative space.
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