After I graduated college this past June, I finally had the time to read literature that wasn’t in the framework of the “canonical” literature for my English major classes. So, I started to finally read the Harry Potter series. I’m just part way into book 5, and I’m noticing a trend that I would like to explore further. Here’s the trend I’m noticing — the men in the books do not have a lot of physical contact with other men. They have moments when they speak affectionately toward one another, they shake each other’s hand, but no real platonic hugging or kissing for the most part. Mr. Weasley is somewhat physically affectionate with his sons and Harry. He will pat them on their heads, mess there hair up a bit, but that is more of a masculine-joking about mentality. Professor Lupin can be affectionate with both genders, but he’s not viewed as completely human. Therefore, regardless of his male gender persona, he is allowed the out of being openly physical and affectionate. Even when some of the female characters show physical contact with the male characters, the male characters seem awkward or out of place with the situation.
Some people may say that the books were written from a writer raised within the culture of the UK, and that physical contact is not a cultural phenomenon in that locale. Perhaps this is true, or perhaps it is rubbish. Then again, even here in the States men have a very difficult time showing platonic physical affection. There is still this strange stereotype that men are forced to live under that regulates what it viewed to be manly. Personally, I am somewhat shocked that we’re in the 21st century and a man who hugs another man is instantly questioned on what his real intentions are. People don’t think that perhaps the two gentlemen are friends, perhaps they are family, or some other reason to allow for platonic hugging. No — most people will go straight to the sexual orientation question, no pun intended.
Life has always been reflected in literature, so I am not really too surprised that gender roles and regulations are present within modern literature. Really I think I’m noticing this trend in particular because I’m aiming my graduate studies toward gender studies and discourse. Nevertheless, I’d love to hear what anyone’s thoughts are on the matter.