preview

The Ideals of Masculinity & Sexuality in Brokeback Mountain

Satisfactory Essays
According to common conceptions of machismo, the ideology of masculinity is set upon the stereotypical ideals, which, America has towards the idea of manhood. In the short story, “Brokeback Mountain”, Proulx uses masculinity as the singular focal point within the text. This melancholy tale of two young cowboys, that emerges into a sexual and emotional connection that truly can’t exist. We often see cowboys as virile men saddling a horse or lone men gathering sheep in a valley, but they’re never been depicted as anything other than that. As we’re introduced to Ennis and Jack, they’re nowhere short of the of the common cowboy stereotype. Proulx makes that apparent when she states, “Ennis, high-arched nose and narrow face, was scruffy and a little cave-chested, balanced a small torso on long, caliper legs, possessed a muscular and supple body made for the horse and for fighting” (3). Indicating that young Ennis and Jack are just like any other cowboys. But when young Jack and Ennis meet on Brokeback Mountain, their sexuality doesn’t eliminate their masculinity. It rather confuses it and compromises their sexuality. No matter the acts that these two men may choose to consume their selves to act upon, their masculinity is evident throughout the text. Initially, instead of removing their masculinity, their sexual identity complicates their manhood. “I’m not no queer”, stated Ennis, which makes it evident that these men are aware of their masculinity (7). Aware of the complexity of their relationship Ennis says, “if you can't fix it you've got to stand it”, meaning that he knew the relationship between him and Jack was corrupt but he didn’t know how to stop it. The complicated situation between Ennis and Jack threatened societal norms by...

... middle of paper ...

...Brokeback Mountain” is allowed to defy the societal term we know as homosexuality, in regards to masculinity.

Works Cited

Brower, Sue. ""They'd Kill Us If They Knew": Transgression and the Western." Journal of Film and Video 62.4 (2010): 47-57. Web.

Halperin, D. M. "How To Do The History Of Male Homosexuality." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 6.1 (2000): 87-123. Web.

Manalansan, M. F. "COLONIZING TIME AND SPACE: Race and Romance in Brokeback Mountain." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 13.1 (2007): 97-100. Web.

Osterweil, Ara. "Ang Lee's Lonesome Cowboys." Film Quarterly 60.3 (2007): 38-42. Web.

Proulx, Annie. Brokeback Mountain. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

Valocchi, S. ""Where Did Gender Go?" Same-Sex Desire and the Persistence of Gender in Gay Male Historiography." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18.4 (2012): 453-79. Web.
Get Access