University of West Florida

To what extent does Fairchild’s “Beauty” critique conservative Western constructions of masculinity?

In other words, analyze the various potential models for masculine behavior in the poem. By the poem’s conclusion, what new understanding has the speaker attained?

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THe poem delves into the poet's own past and subsequently goes on to explore the idea of masculinity, “men / who knew the true meaning of labor and money and other / hard, true things and did not, did not ever, use the word, beauty." The poet questions what masculinity is. Is it the middle American motif of a construction worker in his Ford-F350? Although the poet celebrates this ideal, Fairchild also explores the ugly underbelly of this vision. This type of masculinity also comes with sexual self-esteem issues, misogyny and a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of homophobia.