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Marais, Myburgh and Botha portray the adolescent experiences of the young boy in their work and their poems serve as examples of what is described by Woods (1993) as “posturing of masculinity”.
It implies that they are trying to emulate the examples set by their fathers and male relatives while there are also the glimmerings of a gay consciousness.
Not all men and not all experiences of masculinity are the same.
Ouzgane and Morrell (2005) emphasise that in an attempt to be anti-essentialist when it comes to the definition of masculinity, one has to take cognisance of the “highly differentiated life trajectories of men around the world”.
Regarding the issue of gay masculinity, Bourdieu (2001) is of the opinion that it could be seen as a form of protest against the symbolic power of heterosexual masculinity.
Characteristic of Marais’s poems is a more playful approach to the issue of gay masculinity, whereas in the case of Myburgh there is a more serious engagement with the search for identity among adolescent boys.
Heteronormativity associates masculinity with activity, whereas femininity is seen as being passive and submissive and associated with the act of being penetrated.
This explains the heterosexist horror towards sodomy, because in it masculinity is associated with (and the man “reduced to”) passivity and submission.
In the case of the gay poet Johann de Lange’s work there is a conscious search for the absent father figure who deserted the son when he died (Hambidge 2009).
The three poets under discussion engage with these issues but, interestingly enough, there is not such a strong resistance towards the father in their poems.