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Sexualities, desire and ‘lifestyle’: masculinity constructs in three Greek - page 6 / 17





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Thus, in example (2) below, male sexuality is metaphorically represented and conceptualised as a ‘beast’, which is difficult to control and thus needs to be ‘locked up’:

(2) Κλείδωσε καλά το κτήνος που κρύβεις μέσα σου. Θα έρθει και η σειρά του!

Lock up well the beast you are hiding inside you. Its turn will come too!

The metaphorical frames of ‘hiding’ and ‘locking up the beast’, presuppose, on the one hand, that female sexuality is not ‘beastly’, and hence men should hide and not express this kind of desire spontaneously, but also that, where this difference is indeed the case (which is not self-evident despite being presented as ‘given’), it is not a matter of changing or making an effort of convergence between the two partners, but rather a matter of ‘hiding’ for strategic purposes.

This is also presupposed at numerous points in the text, including the following examples:

(3) δείξε αυτοσυγκράτηση

show self-restraint

(4) Εδώ κι αν πρέπει να δείξεις αυτοσυγκράτηση!

This is where you have to show even more self-restraint!

(5) Μην τη χουφτώνεις άγαρμπα

Don’t grope her loutishly

(6) Μη βιάζεσαι

Don’t hurry

As one can see from the examples, much of the stereotypes about male and female sexuality are not explicitly stated but are presupposed as satisfying the felicity conditions of the directive speech acts. Felicity conditions are the conditions (we know) a speech act has to meet to be ‘felicitous’, in other words, to ‘make sense’ (Austin, 1975; see also Searle 1969; 1971/1976 on felicity conditions). All directives presuppose, as part of their felicity conditions, that the receiver of the directive would not do the action anyway. In this case, then, it is presupposed that if men are not repeatedly told to control themselves, to show self-restraint, to ‘lock up the beast’, etc. they would be rough, unrestrained, loutish etc., which stereotypes all men, and constructs this stereotype as a given reality, which therefore has to be accepted.

The acceptance of ‘beastly’ behaviour (due to ‘beastly nature’), is indicated by the assertions legitimating the temporary ‘taming’ this sexual drive, namely, the benefits to be gained: that the woman will surrender herself unconditionally (example 1), and that then it will be the time to stop hiding and pretending to be nice (example 2 – ‘its turn will come too!). This is encapsulated by the final, permissive speech act, namely:

(7) Προσχήματα τέλος! Απελευθέρωσε επιτέλους το κτήνος που κρύβεις μέσα σου! [Keeping up] appearances is over! Release at last the beast you hide inside you!

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