The Romanticized Notion of Sadomasochism in Masculinity
The Romanticized Notion of Sadomasochism in Masculinity is a depiction of a knight in ecstasy that refers to The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The armour resembles the way fully plated suit would have to be crafted would only be effective if was fully fitted to its wearer, matching the proportions of the user. This is why the armour on the sculpture appears to be absorbing the form of its user, revealing the user’s bodily structure. Likewise, the knight’s endowment is a reference to chauvinistic fashion trends during the 16th and 17th century. codpieces were aesthetic and were meant to elevate the wealth and power of the wearer.
Codpiece on 16th century armour. Made purely for non-combative purposes
The knight in shining armour is a romantic figure and the idea of chivalric code is still highly romanticized. High quality medieval/renaissance armor were produced only for wealthy knights, lords, and kings, and are generally associated with romanticist stories involving chivalry, stories, and medieval myths. Wealth and power are still masculine fantasies that seduce to this day. There is a skewed eroticism in the depicted figure.
This is a critique of the traditional idea of masculinity in its current state through a male perspective. When discussing Knighthood, there is an oddly common misconception that chivalry stood for the fair treatment of the fairer sex during courtly romance, similar to old stories such as”Lancealot, Knight of the cart”, and its cultural revival in the 20th century. That is merely a small part of what it actually entails. The Chivalric code places large emphasis on the protection of the church and how to conduct one’s self in the martial arts. An ideal knight willingly uses his masculinity to both give and receive pain for the protection of his benefactors, the land he owns, and the serfs that serve below him. These responsibilities were compensated handsomely, which can be seen as a double edged sword.
This parallels the experiences of many men; While Society has made great strides since the adaption of universal suffrage in 1920 for both working class men and white women, men are still expected to perform utilitarian tasks that benefit both women and the power structures that rule over them, much like how knights were utilities for the protection of the church. The idea of the utilitarian man still creeps into every part of our lives, the protector, the provider, the leader, the mentor, the stoic, and the sacrificial lamb. This is male disposability.