Masculinity In J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace

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The novels and papers selected throughout this course have a similar connection to the idea of hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is fundamentally articulated through David’s character in Disgrace. The development of his character displayed the contradictory views of the issue. David was a professor from a prestigious university at Cape Town. His occupation and location gives him privilege and freedom thus allowing him to make impulsive decisions and disregard the possible consequences. David objectifies every woman he meets, thinking of them only in terms of their physical appearance. In addition to objectifying women, David also believes that it was a man’s duty to please women by desiring their beauty. For instance, David assures himself that he is helping Melanie, justifying to himself that her beauty is meant to be shared. However, this is contradictory because it uncovers the fragility of David’s masculinity through his need for female validation. The author, J.M. Coetzee,…show more content…
From the narration, David’s toxicity is exposed through his acknowledgment of the wrongs in his actions, yet he decides to ignore it. Coetzee exposes the society’s views on David’s actions through the reactions of his wife, colleagues, and society. The primary concern of David’s wife and his colleagues after the exposure of his sexual harassment was whether it was worth it for him to risk everything and for him to just apologize to maintain his job. From this scene, there is a clear comparison between today’s society and the book’s. Based on the “#Me Too” movement, it is observed that these actions cannot be erased from society by acknowledgment and a meaningless apology. Also, Melanie’s father reacted in the masculinized way, which indicates that it was normal for this mistake to occur. However, Melanie’s mother and sister’s reaction were more supportive of Melanie’s
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