Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies vol:3 issue:9 pages:19-31
The article analyses the construction of hegemonic masculinity at the end of the 19th century, by using one example of deviant male marital behaviour as case-study ex contrario. The complaints expressed by Proba Ruffranck about her husband, Charles Andelshof, and the stories of various witnesses on his behaviour, all contribute to an image of Charles as a 'bad' husband and an abnormal, even unmasculine, man. Using the couple's divorce documents, a negative mould of normal or hegemonic masculinity can be (re)constructed, through which not only the borders of normality can be traced, but also the mechanism leading to (marital) deviance. Charles' 'unmasculine' character (as skteched by his wife and neighbours) can be explained rather as an attempt to heighten masculinity, than as a lack of interest in conforming to norms of male behaviour. His failure as a provider and his verbal and physical abuse are, rather than a unique or pathological negation of expectations concerning marriage and manhood, a result of the hierarchical structure of 19th century constructions of masculinity.