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John Rickard

In the movie The Producers (now a musical), Gene Wilder accuses Zero Mostel of treating actors like animals. ‘Have you ever seen an actor eat?’ is Mostel’s pithy reply. There is a truth buried in this joke: eating can be important to actors in a profession where much time can be spent between jobs, ‘resting’, as it is euphemistically called.

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Masculinity isn’t what it used to be. To begin with, it has gone forth and multiplied to become masculinities, for it is a requirement of a pluralist culture that diversity not only be acknowledged but cultivated. What has happened, of course, is that as women’s history has given way to gender studies, masculinity, which was formerly taken for granted as part of the dominant culture, is being put under the microscope.

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