How Chronic Illness Transformed My Masculinity




By Jamison Hill in The Good Men Project.


For most of my childhood, or what seemed like it, I wore a similar outfit every day — a hodgepodge of items mimicking my masculine role models — cowboys, firefighters, and Army men. Most often my outfit consisted of Army fatigues, cowboy boots, and a pair of leather chaps with a matching gun holster and a pair of plastic six-shooters. It was a fashion nightmare but was meant, however unconsciously, to be a symbolic statement of the masculinity I strove to obtain.

As I grew older my attire shifted to Austin 3:16 and Hulk Hogan tee-shirts with a backward-facing baseball cap. It was not uncommon for me to pose for family photos with my arms flexed. One year my family even enabled my pursuit of what I now know as a fabricated version of masculinity by giving Christmas gifts of homemade barbecue sauce with a label featuring my shirtless chest and a model’s expression on my face.


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