Boys and Their Toys

Contemporary self-making often requires dramatic reinvention. Left: A shy midwesterner, Marion Michael Morrison, transformed himself into John Wayne, the most readily identifiable masculine icon of the decades following World War II. (Publicity photography) Bottom: And President George W. Bush, son and grandson of aristocratic New England bluebloods, who repped at Andover, graduated from Yale and Harvard, and “summered” in Kennebunkport, Maine, transformed himself into a “self-made” Texas businessman, a down-to-earth man of the people. The image of a backcountry Heroic Artisan contrasts with his wife’s description of him as a “windshield cowboy,” meaning that he experiences the great western outdoors in his pickup truck, not riding the range. Apparently Bush likes horses no more than Wayne did. (Brooks Kraft/Corbis)


Kimmel, Michael. 2012. Manhood in America: A Cultural History. 3rd ed. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Page 271. Graphics and title in original, links my own.]

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