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Two hundred years of the American man

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This chapter explores the argument that hegemony representations of masculinity can be identified via repetition of qualities that are (relatively) uniquely associated with men. To this end, and to identify potential changing hegemonic representations over time, adjectival collocates of man in the 400 million word Corpus of Historical American English were examined. It was found that in the 19th century there was focus on men’s moral qualities while the 20th century saw a move towards representations of attractive and strong male bodies. The findings are linked to social changes and raise questions about the values placed on appearances in current American society.