Throughout American history, issues of health, ranging from hygiene to disease prevention to diet, have been fundamental to cultural constructions of masculinity. In the late eighteenth century a series of transformations in American life, especially the American Revolution and such modernizing developments as urbanization and industrialization, raised questions and concerns about the meaning of American manhood and the nature of American life. In this environment, the strength and vigor of the male body began to be linked to the well-being of the nation. Since then, the cultural link between health and masculinity has been reinforced by the fact that the chief spokespersons regarding matters of health have overwhelmingly been men. Further, in the late nineteenth century a growing tendency to define masculinity in physical and ...

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