When we picture the men of the Old West or the Civil War, our modern lens doesn’t often have them holding hands or clasped in the embrace of bosom friendship, but much has changed in the practice of male intimacy over the last hundred years, as Brett and Kate McKay at The Art of Manliness discovered perusing thousands of pictures.
The article explores how shifting attitudes toward homosexuality have impacted the practice of male intimacy between friends.
Whether the men below were gay in the way our current culture understands that idea, or in the way that they themselves understood it, is unknowable. What we do know is that the men would not have thought their poses and body language had anything at all to do with that question. What you see in the photographs was common, not rare; the photos are not about sexuality, but intimacy.
These photos showcase an evolution in the way men relate to one another — and the way in which certain forms and expressions of male intimacy have disappeared over the last century.
While our culture has no problem with affection shown between teammates or soldiers, it is almost as if only the most “masculine” of activities provide a free pass for men to demonstrate their feelings.
The love of men.Author on Google+