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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-26414

Frizzoni, B (2009). Adonis Revisited: Erotic Representations of the Male Body in Women's Crime Fiction. Folklore. Electronic Journal of Folklore, 43:27-42.



If we take a close look at representations of the male body in popular
culture, John Berger’s famous phrase “Men look at women, and women watch
themselves being looked at” no longer seems appropriate. Not only in the visual
media, but also in popular literature male bodies are presented in increasingly
eroticised ways, hence making them available for the female gaze and female
desire. This shift, or “disruption of conventional patterns of looking”, as Rosalind
Gill observes, and the representation of maleness in popular culture and everyday
life in general, has attracted much scholarly attention in recent years. While
visual media such as films and advertising have already been discussed, in this
respect women’s crime novels remain to be examined closely. These texts have
boomed in the international book market during the past two decades and are
characterised, among other aspects, by disrupting conventional patterns. In my
paper, I shall argue that eroticised representations of the male body are a striking
feature of many women’s crime novels, leading to a new type of character, the
Adonis, the beautiful, erotic male – often as an homme fatal, a lethally attractive
male – and that erotic tension, triggered by these representations, is crucial
to the genre’s typical form of suspense in some of the most popular examples.



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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:female desire, female gaze, gender, male beauty, male body, masculinity, men in popular literature, popular culture, suspense, women’s crime fiction
Deposited On:24 Dec 2009 09:31
Last Modified:23 Nov 2012 14:37
Publisher:FB and Media Group of Estonian Literary Museum
Official URL:http://www.folklore.ee/Folklore/vol43/frizzoni.pdf

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