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The Comics of Alison BechdelFrom the Outside In$
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Janine Utell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496825773

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496825773.001.0001

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Bechdel’s Men and Masculinity

Bechdel’s Men and Masculinity

Gay Pedant and Lesbian Man

(p.52) Bechdel’s Men and Masculinity
The Comics of Alison Bechdel

Judith Kegan Gardiner

University Press of Mississippi

In both Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel draws avatars of herself as a butch lesbian who has an admiration for “masculine beauty,” while preferring the company of women and the politics of Leftist lesbian feminism. In the “Cartoonist’s Introduction” to Dykes to Watch Out For, she describes how as a child she had “a curious fixation with the iconography of masculinity” and drew only male figures until years later she asked herself, “What if I stopped drawing guys and started drawing dykes?” (Essential Dykes viii, xiii). But she did continue drawing men as well, centering Fun Home on the depiction of her father’s dilemmas as a closeted gay man trying to fit American ideals of manhood. So Bechdel gives us sad past and potentially optimistic future visions of masculinity and sexuality. This chapter analyzes Bechdel’s men both externally and internally, first with attention to the ways in which she draws the repressed Bruce Bechdel, Alison’s father in Fun Home, and outgoing Stuart, progressive partner to one of Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, then to considering what she shows us of their thoughts and emotions in the social environments they inhabit.

Keywords:   Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home, Masculinity, Sexuality, Men

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