Fashion and Masculinities in Popular Culture

Fashion and Masculinities in Popular Culture (Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies) 1st Edition

With this long and languid sentence, Baudelaire opens his section on the dandy in his Painter of Modern Life. The dandy crops up elsewhere throughout the text, affiliated with the free, rambling urban wanderer, the flâneur, and is an embodiment of modernity itself. ‘Modernity’, by Baudelaire’s reckoning, is ‘the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable’.2 The dandy is a furtive and slippery figure that nonetheless guards an intangible essence. The dandy is for Baudelaire an entirely male domain. By contrast, Baudelaire’s description of women is generic, female types are relatively contingent. Differences of class and fortune may pertain, but the dandy stands out for the way in which he creates a special domain for himself that seeks independence of material economies, and instead enters a world of abstractions. In short, the idea of a male type is something that is modern and is the province of men.

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